[Joyful Noise]: A Review

Hi y’all!

I’m scheduling this post to publish this weekend because I will probably not be getting on for a few days because… WE’RE CLOSING ON A HOUSE! This is seriously surreal and so exciting! We’ve found a great place to raise our kids. And we can’t wait to get moved in and settled. So forgive me as my replies to your comments are a bit delayed this week.

Today I am here to share my review Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman. This collection won the Newbery Medal in 1989. I read it quickly over just a few days. This Newbery winner was really fun! I was again surprised by the short length. I thought Fleischman could have had twice as many poems and I would have still been excited about them.

I especially enjoy Newbery winners that surprise me and Joyful Noise was a pleasant surprise.


According to Goodreads, “From the Newbery Medal-winning author of Seedfolks, Paul Fleischman, Joyful Noise is a collection of irresistible poems that celebrates the insect world. Funny, sad, loud, and quiet, each of these poems resounds with a booming, boisterous, joyful noise. The poems resound with the pulse of the cicada and the drone of the honeybee. They can be fully appreciated by an individual reader, but they’re particularly striking when read aloud by two voices, making this an ideal pick for classroom use. Eric Beddows′s vibrant drawings send each insect soaring, spinning, or creeping off the page in its own unique way. With Joyful Noise, Paul Fleischman created not only a fascinating guide to the insect world but an exultant celebration of life.”

I love Newbery winners that are different–especially those that aren’t traditional novels because they add something new to the list of winners. These sorts of winners always epitomize the nature of the award. They are unique contributions to children’s literature. This one is a collection of poems meant to be performed by two people. They are so fun to read aloud! My husband and I read a few together, and I thought it was great and clever! I can see why the author includes a note at the start of the collection about reading them aloud with a friend. You get a different sense of timing and sound when you hear them spoken.

All the poems are about bugs which I surprisingly enjoyed! Honestly, I don’t actually like bugs that much. But these poems were so fun and so well connected to the insects in the titles. The cadencing, the spacing, the words, everything creates an image of each type of bug that narrated the poem. The illustrations by Eric Beddows are clever and fun. I think illustrations add a fun dimension to novels but these were also fun for poems. It gave me a clear picture of what each insect looked like as I spoke the words that gave them life. I was really impressed by how clever these poems are.

Again, my one qualm is that this collection is so short. I think these are so clever and was expecting a longer collection. There are a lot of insects out there in the world so there wasn’t really a limitation of subject matter. I wonder why he stopped after so short a number. Perhaps he felt it was complete. And I can respect that. Regardless, I enjoyed the poems and the illustrations as well.

A fun Newbery winner! I recommend reading at least a few out loud with a friend. I think kids will love reading the out loud and even finding the different bugs out in nature. This one was clever.

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What are your favorite Newbery winners?
Any poetry collections for kids that you recommend?


I read this Newbery Medal winner as a part of my Newbery Challenge.
I plan to read all 100 Newbery Medal winners by the end of 2022, the year the 100th winner is announced.

5 thoughts on “[Joyful Noise]: A Review

  1. Pingback: July Wrap Up and August TBR – greenish bookshelf

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