Tag Archives: Fleischman (author)

Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices Review

joyfulnoiseJoyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Eric Beddows

HarperCollins, 1988. 978-0060218522.

Winner of the 1989 John Newbery Medal

Synopsis: Designed to be read aloud, Fleischman’s poems recreate the booming, boisterous noise of the insect world. Explore the songs of water striders, fireflies, cicadas, whirligig beetles, and many others.

Why I picked it up: I came across the title while I was researching Newbery winners and I thought it would be fun for National Poetry Month.

Why I finished it: Because poetry is designed to instill feeling and create images using only a few select words, it’s often difficult to create a stirring image that will remain with the reader long after they have read the poem. This book explores poetry by creating for the reader poems with the familiar rhyme scheme and breaks them up to create a bigger picture for the audience. It’s a melodious, discordant, and wonder-filled look into the world of insects that comes alive with Beddows’ illustrations. Read it with a friend or use it in the classroom to introduce kids to the joys of read-aloud poems.

Other related materials: I am Phoenix: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleishman, illustrated by Ken Nutt; Big Talk: Poems for Four Voices by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Beppe Giacobbe; insectlopedia by Douglas Florian; Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beckie Prange; Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen; Math Talk: Mathematical Ideas in Poems for Two Voices by Theoni Pappas; Messing Around on the Monkey Bars and Other School Poems for Two Voices by Betsy Franco, illustrated by Jessie Hartland; Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Josee Masse; Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Josee Masse; A Visit to William Blake’s Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers by Nancy Willard, illustrated by Alice Provensen and Martin Provensen; A Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete Poems edited by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Chris Raschka; Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys by Bob Raczka, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds; The Random House Book of Poetry for Children compiled by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Arnold Lobel

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The Whipping Boy Review

the-whipping-boyThe Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman, illustrated by Peter Sis

Greenwillow Books, 2003. 978-0060521226

Winner of the 1987 John Newbery Medal

Synopsis: Because it is against the law to whip the heir to the throne, Jemmy, a young rat catcher from the streets, is chosen to be the prince’s whipping boy. But when Prince Brat (so he is called by Jemmy) becomes bored with causing trouble in the castle, he talks Jemmy into running away with him and begins for them a high stakes adventure that might make them learn to appreciate each other.

Why I picked it up: The book seems to pop up on shelves where I am browsing for my next great read, and when my local bookstore had a going out of business sale, I snapped up a copy.

Why I finished it: It’s not a very long book, but Fleischman has the gift of being able to draw the reader in and get them engaged in the story. Jemmy and Prince Brat are likable characters, even though they aren’t quite as three-dimensional as the heroes of a more modern novel. The details describing the setting are a little sparse, but the reader has a clear idea of the times in which the story has been set. Sis’s illustrations are a cross between woodblocks and Renaissance sketches, giving us a window into the life and times in which Jemmy and Prince Brat live and adding life to the characters. It’s a charming and highly imaginative tale full of high adventure with twists and turns and a darkly comic edge that will keep the reader turning pages until the end.

Other related materials: Prince Brat and the Whipping Boy (movie); The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman; The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli; Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrated by Robert Byrd; The Tale of Desperaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering; The Apprentice by Pilar Molina Llorente, illustrated by Juan Ramon Alonso; The Great and Terrible Quest by Margaret Lovett, illustrated by Joyce M. Turley; The Apple and the Arrow by Mary and Conrad Buff; The Medieval World by Philip Steele; The Sword in the Tree by Clyde Robert Bulla, illustrated by Bruce Bowles; Castle Diary: The Journal of Tobias Burgess by Richard Platt, illustrated by Chris Riddell

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By The Great Horn Spoon! review

By the Great Horn Spoon! by Sid Fleischman; Illustrated by Eric von Schmidt

Little Brown, 1988. 978-0-316-28612-1

Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Jack and his faithful butler Praiseworthy set out to make it rich during the California gold rush in order to help Jack’s beloved Aunt Arabella keep their family home in Boston. The two stow away on the Lady Wilma after having their money stolen and with the captain’s kindness, are able to work off the price of the voyage from Boston to San Francisco. Along their journey, they meet a collection of strange characters from which they are able to learn the tricks of the gold mining trade and together the two endure the hardships and triumphs of the gold rush.

Why I picked it up: My fourth grade teacher read it to the class when we were studying California history.

Why I finished it: Historical fiction is often far from accessible to younger readers, but Newbery Award winner Fleischman manages to coax a fun, funny, and wild adventure out of a piece of American and California history. It enlivens and exaggerates the experiences of the men and women who braved months of travel over land and sea to see if they could seek their fortunes. Jack and Praiseworthy are resourceful, and use whatever shortcomings they may have to their advantage – the two need money, so Praiseworthy cuts the hair of miners for free and Jack pans for gold in the leftover hair; when Jack accidentally buys a bushel of neckties, Praiseworthy and Jack sell them to the miners when they hear a lady is going to be coming to the camp. I love the different personalities of the characters Jack and Praiseworthy meet during their mining days and enjoyed how the story was paced to make the reader always wondering and wanting more. I liked it the first time it was read to me, and as an older reader, it is still a wonderful adventure.

Other related materials: Patty Reed’s Doll: The Story of the Donner Party by Rachel K. Langarard; Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell; Blue Willow by Doris Gates; Bound for Oregon by Jean van Leeuwen; Brady by Jean Fritz; Turn Homeward, Hannalee by Patricia Beatty; Riding Freedom by Pam Munoz Ryan

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