Cover image for Big talk : poems for four voices
Big talk : poems for four voices
Fleischman, Paul.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
44 pages : color illustrations ; 19 x 28 cm
A collection of poems to be read aloud by four people, with color-coded text to indicate which lines are read by which readers.
Reading Level:
NP Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC 3-5 5.2 2 Quiz: 22052 Guided reading level: NR.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3556.L42268 B54 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS3556.L42268 B54 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Have some toe-tapping, tongue-flapping fun with this brilliant new book by Newbery Award-winner Paul Fleischman and gifted illustrator Beppe Giacobbe. You'll have to see, shout, share, perform, and experience it to believe it!

Two's company . . . four's a blast! Especially when you're joining voices with family or friends. Around the kitchen table, on the front steps, or in the classroom, these rousing, rib-tickling, delicious poems will fill you full of the joy of reading aloud. Paul Fleischman won the Newbery Medal for JOYFUL NOISE: POEMS FOR TWO VOICES. Now he invites us to make more word music.

Settle back and chant "The Quiet Evenings Here," as Grandma rocks, the clock tick-tocks, Sister hums, raindrops rap, and no one cares a hoot for the noisy, fast-paced world outside. Delight in the gossipy "Seventh-Grade Soap Opera," alive with whispers, invitations, and hearsay about who's fibbing, eavesdropping, or holding hands with whom. Let the poignant "Ghosts' Race" reveal the secret hungry ghosts know--and their spirited take on mortal mealtime. Arranged in color-coded groups of four lines, one line per speaker, each poem weaves a rich tapestry of rhythm, sense, and sound.

Written by Paul Fleischman, the renowned author of WESLANDIA, and evocatively illustrated by Beppe Giacobbe, this hip, innovative, and extraordinary book will have readers of all ages sounding off.

Author Notes

Paul Fleischman was born in Monterey, California on September 5, 1952. His father is fellow children's author, Sid Fleischman. He attended the University of California at Berkeley for two years, from 1970 to 1972. He dropped out to go on a cross-country train/bicycle trip and along the way took care of a 200-year-old house in New Hampshire. He eventually earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of New Mexico in 1977.

Fleischman has written over 25 books for children and young adults including award winners such as Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices, Newberry Medal in 1989; Graven Images, Newberry Honor; Bull Run, Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction; Breakout, Finalist for the National Book Award in 2003; Saturnalia, Boston Globe-Horn Book Fiction Honor. He has also garnered numerous awards and recognitions from the American Library Association, School Library Journal, Publisher's Weekly, Booklist, and NCTE.

He founded the grammar watchdog groups ColonWatch and The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to English.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4^-7. Following his Newbery Medal^-winning Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices (1988), Fleischman offers another collection of beautifully orchestrated, spirited poems for many voices. This book, however, has no obvious theme (Joyful Noise's poems focused on insects), and Fleischman has upped the volume and chaos by adding more voices. The artwork is also more intense: the illustrations, by Beppe Giacobbe, are bright and sometimes unsettling compared to the quiet, elegant graphite drawings in Joyful Noise. Although the picture-book format may seem too young to some readers, the poems are physical, eloquent, and challenging, with potential appeal for a wide age group. The first, "The Quiet Evenings Here," is a rhymed tongue-in-cheek celebration of staying in; the second explores the chaotic drama of a "Seventh-Grade Soap Opera"; and in the last, "Ghost's Grace," spirits remember the pleasures of food and of family meals as they watch dining mortals take both for granted. On wide pages, a line of small paintings runs below colored bars printed with each voice's part, much like notes on a staff. Clear instructions for reading are included; children with musical training will follow easily. Perfect for classroom theater. --Gillian Engberg

Publisher's Weekly Review

Fleischman expands from verse duets, as featured in his Newbery Award-winning Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices, to quartets with this well-crafted volume. Part drama, part chorus, the three extended poems read like a musical score: each speaker follows a line of color--green, yellow, orange or purple--then rests when the line is blank. An introduction explains how to use the book and suggests some variations (for fewer or more than four readers). Except for the full-page images that begin and end each poem, Italian artist Giacobbe's computer-generated illustrations appear within a kind of elaborate comic strip at the bottom of each page. Fleischman's poems vary in dramatic and poetic intensity. In "The Quiet Evenings Here," droll country folk detail the noises of city life, images of which Giacobbe captures in sepia tones, as well as their preferred serene gatherings around the hearth, rendered in full color. Readers eventually realize that the "peaceful" evenings--"Grandma rockin'/ Clock tick-tockin'/ Sister hummin'/ Grandpa strummin' "--may not be so quiet after all. "Seventh-Grade Soap Opera" gives voice to the perils of junior high life as a never-ending saga; the artwork carries through the theme with extended phone chords and overlapping images within discreet vignettes. In "Ghosts Grace," the standout among the collection, four ghostly narrators observe a family at dinner and, much as Emily does in Wilder's Our Town, the foursome savors the extraordinary nature of ordinary experience. A lively and thought-provoking treat guaranteed to get kids talkin'. Ages 10-14. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Fleischman expands the choir in this new collection of poems for multiple readers. Four voices intertwine to narrate the three amusing scenarios. Rhythmic refrains define "The Quiet Evenings Here," with "Sister hummin'," "Grandpa strummin'," "Grandma rockin'," and the "Clock tick-tockin'." Once readers get their color-coded lines sorted out, this will be a toe-tappin', audience-joinin'-in pleaser. "Seventh-Grade Soap Opera" catalogs the doings and dramas of the peer group in terse verse, inviting improvisation. And "Ghosts' Grace," with the longing voices of spirits yearning for old pleasures as they observe a family hastily dispatching with dinner, is both poignant and fun. Giacobbe's computer-generated paintings in warm, muted tones are an effective folksy backdrop. While there are a few full-page pictures, most of the art consists of strips of small vignettes running below the narrative. Instructions for group reading introduce the poems. This book will find a host of uses in choral reading and in stimulating reading, discussion, and writing. The likely cacophony will bring giggles as readers work on getting the hang of all of this big talk.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.