Poetry Friday: Paul Fleischman's "Joyful Noise"
October 05, 2007
Last summer I liked Joyce Sidman's 2005 book, Song of the Water Boatman, with its fun poems about ponds and nature as well as vivid woodblock-print illustrations by Beckie Prange.
Published in 1988, Paul Fleischman's Joyful Noise also contains a poem about the water boatmen bugs. Who knew they were a popular subject for children's poetry? Not me. Fleischman's book about insects consists of poems for two voices; in fact, it won the Newbery Medal.
The poems are gently humorous, whimsical, and full of a rich vocabulary. The small, subtle black and white illustrations were made in pencil by Eric Beddows. In many ways Joyful Noise is a quiet book that doesn't need to call attention to itself with gussied-up graphics. I sense an inherent trust in the readers to discover the poems' pleasures for themselves.
Joyful Noise is for older children, aged nine to twelve, but if two grown-ups read these works to 5-8 year olds, I bet the kids would appreciate them. I may have to send a copy of "Chrysalis Diary" to Junior's teacher; his third-grade class is currently studying butterflies. Oh, and how could I forget? There's even a poem about book lice.
I've chosen Fleischman's "Water Boatmen" as today's Poetry Friday selection. I found the poem at the HarperCollins site, so click on the link to read it.
Whimsy Books rounds up the participants in Poetry Friday. I give props to our friend Ms. L. for recommending Joyful Noise. Incidentally, author Laura Purdie Salas wrote about Joyful Noise today, too. Love that Poetry Friday synchronicity!
This is one of the first books of poetry that I purchased for myself outside of school anthologies. Since it was allegedly for children, it made it easier to not admit to myself I was buying poetry!!!
I adore the Book lice poem. And now I must go and say happy things over at Laura's site!
Posted by: TadMack | October 05, 2007 at 01:52 PM
I would love to hear this one read aloud!
Posted by: cloudscome | October 05, 2007 at 02:31 PM
Oh, that's neat, TadMack. It's a lovely book, isn't it?
Me, too, Cloudscome. I think the poems would be great as staged readings for fifth graders.
Posted by: Susan Thomsen | October 05, 2007 at 03:26 PM
Love, love, love this book. I have used it for so many years in creative writing classes of all ages. It definitely deserves a mention. Thanks.
Posted by: Mrs. G. | October 06, 2007 at 02:32 PM
I don't know this book -- or rather, I didn't -- and now I'm really, really happy I do...
Posted by: Liz in Ink | October 08, 2007 at 05:12 PM
Liz, I think you'll like it. I really wanted to read it aloud with someone. Jr. was game for that a little but not much.
Posted by: Susan T. | October 09, 2007 at 01:14 PM
I am currently in a play using some of the poems from this book. IT IS SO COOL! I am in seventh grade and at first I thought it was weird, but I love the one called the moth serenade, with the porch light!!!!! Love this book!
Posted by: Maya | January 03, 2008 at 06:42 PM
Maya, I loved it, too. I can see how it would work well in theater! Thanks for stopping by.
Posted by: Susan T. | January 03, 2008 at 08:07 PM
will someone send me these lyrics
Posted by: liza folds | April 05, 2010 at 02:34 PM
You can get the entire poems in the book, which is available in many libraries.
Posted by: Susan (Chicken Spaghetti) | April 07, 2010 at 09:43 AM