A Tribute to Librarians
Suburban Yardbirds, 10.5

Poetry Friday: Paul Fleischman's "Joyful Noise"

9780064460934 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!


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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!

I would love to hear this one read aloud!

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.

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.

I don't know this book -- or rather, I didn't -- and now I'm really, really happy I do...

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.

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!

Maya, I loved it, too. I can see how it would work well in theater! Thanks for stopping by.

will someone send me these lyrics

You can get the entire poems in the book, which is available in many libraries.

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