1989: Joyful Noise – Poems for Two Voices (Bug Poetry)

VERDICT: Treasure

Laurinda’s Rating: 3.5/5

Joyful Noise – Poems for Two Voices, the 1989 Newbery Medal Winner, is a collection of poems written from the perspective of insects. It’s designed, as the title says, to be read by two people, with some lines in unison and others alternating. For me, the real star of this book was the illustrations, like that of book lice. The poetry is mildly humorous and would be fun for an adult and child to read together. The vocabulary is generally simple enough to allow this.

One of my particular favorite poems is about honeybees. One speaker is a worker bee while the other is the queen. The poem contrasts their perspectives, ending with, respectively “Truly, a bee’s is the worst of all lives” and “Truly, a bee’s is the best of all lives.” I appreciate how the lines alternatively match up and diverge, with some great onomatopoeia going on in the cicadas poem. As mentioned earlier, this would be great for fairly young kids, particularly those who like bugs and reading aloud. There’s not much in it that would make me recommend this for adults, as I found it only moderately amusing, not a must read.


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