Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Big Talk: Poems for Four Voices

A. Title: Big Talk: Poems for Four Voices

B. Author: Paul Fleischman

C. Illustrator: Beppe Giacobbe

D. Publisher: Candlewick Press

E. Genre: Poetry Book/Picture Book

F. Reading Level: Grades 1-3
G. Summary: Big Talk: Poems for Four Voices is another one of Paul Fleischman's creative poem books for multiple people to read aloud. These books are great for classroom application because kids think they're just so much fun. This book has some similar features to those in Joyful Noises and I am Phoenix, but it only has three poems: "The Quiet Evenings Here," "Seventh-Grade Soap Opera," and "Ghosts' Grace." At the beginning of the book there is a two page spread that has instructions on how to read this book, helpful hints, and the table of contents. This book is most noticably different than its sister two-voice poem books because there are four voices. Each reader chooses a color at the beginning (green, yellow, orange, or purple) and that is the line they read throughout the book. The illustrations in this book are made using Photoshop and Painter. The book is overall very bright and there is color everywhere, unlike the black and white sketches in both Joyful Noises and I am Phoenix. The poems in this book have even more of a melodic sound to them.
H. Response: I loved the illustrations in this book; the whole thing is very colorful, bright, and vibrant. The book's illustartions kind of scream fun and they do account for a good portion of the fun. Each page pops because not only are there colorful, childlike illustrations but each reader's section is coded in a different color. I enjoyed the poems themselves because they were a lot of fun, they are amazing to look at, they had a great sing-songie flow to them that made them all the more entertaining. The only negative thing about this book is that I see it more as a fun book rather than a impressive educational text.
I. Teaching Ideas: I would suggest using Big Talk: Poems for Four Voices with younger to middle grades in elementary school. The book can be a great resource for aiding children in their reading/oral reading. The kids can break into groups of four and practice the poems and present them orally as a way to increase their oral reading skills. This book can also be used to teach lessons on poem structures and characteristics because Big Talk has so many fun words that create rhythms and there are rhyming words, the list does in continue on a bit in the subject field. Like I said above though, I would use this book as more of just a fun classroom addition, something to get kids interested in Poetry, but not neccessarily the best book to plan many lessons around. Paul Fleischman's books Joyful Noises: Poems for Two Voices and I Am Phoenix: Poems for Two Voices are much better resources for class lesson plans.

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