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Paul Fleischman grew up in a home filled with books and music. "after years along on the piano bench," he says, "I learned to play the recorder and fell in love iwth the camaraderie of chamber music. Recently, I just joined my first string quartet. What joy! I've tried to bring this bliss into these spoken quartets." The author of many awardwinning books, Paul Fleischman lives in Pacific Grove, California. Beppe Giacobbe was born in Milan, Italy, in 1953, and is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York. In addition to teaching at the European Institute of Design, he also illustrates book jackets and, in his spare time, creates sculptures out of knicknacks and objects he finds while out walking. He says he is "a calm and meticulous man, who vents his emotions while drawing." Beppe Giacobbe lives in Milan.
Gr 5-8-Fleischman expands the choir in this new collection of poems for multiple readers. Four voices intertwine to narrate the three amusing scenarios. Rhythmic refrains define "The Quiet Evenings Here," with "Sister hummin'," "Grandpa strummin'," "Grandma rockin'," and the "Clock tick-tockin'." Once readers get their color-coded lines sorted out, this will be a toe-tappin', audience-joinin'-in pleaser. "Seventh-Grade Soap Opera" catalogs the doings and dramas of the peer group in terse verse, inviting improvisation. And "Ghosts' Grace," with the longing voices of spirits yearning for old pleasures as they observe a family hastily dispatching with dinner, is both poignant and fun. Giacobbe's computer-generated paintings in warm, muted tones are an effective folksy backdrop. While there are a few full-page pictures, most of the art consists of strips of small vignettes running below the narrative. Instructions for group reading introduce the poems. This book will find a host of uses in choral reading and in stimulating reading, discussion, and writing. The likely cacophony will bring giggles as readers work on getting the hang of all of this big talk.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Fleischman expands from verse duets, as featured in his Newbery Award-winning Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices, to quartets with this well-crafted volume. Part drama, part chorus, the three extended poems read like a musical score: each speaker follows a line of color--green, yellow, orange or purple--then rests when the line is blank. An introduction explains how to use the book and suggests some variations (for fewer or more than four readers). Except for the full-page images that begin and end each poem, Italian artist Giacobbe's computer-generated illustrations appear within a kind of elaborate comic strip at the bottom of each page. Fleischman's poems vary in dramatic and poetic intensity. In "The Quiet Evenings Here," droll country folk detail the noises of city life, images of which Giacobbe captures in sepia tones, as well as their preferred serene gatherings around the hearth, rendered in full color. Readers eventually realize that the "peaceful" evenings--"Grandma rockin'/ Clock tick-tockin'/ Sister hummin'/ Grandpa strummin' "--may not be so quiet after all. "Seventh-Grade Soap Opera" gives voice to the perils of junior high life as a never-ending saga; the artwork carries through the theme with extended phone chords and overlapping images within discreet vignettes. In "Ghosts Grace," the standout among the collection, four ghostly narrators observe a family at dinner and, much as Emily does in Wilder's Our Town, the foursome savors the extraordinary nature of ordinary experience. A lively and thought-provoking treat guaranteed to get kids talkin'. Ages 10-14. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.