At first light the finches
are flitting about the trees
In this companion volume to Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices, the winner of the 1989 Newbery Medal, Paul Fleischman celebrates the sound, the sense, the essence of birds. Written to be spoken aloud by two voices, sometimes alternating, sometimes simultaneous, these poems perfectly capture the beauty of birds in their singing, soaring, and rejoicing.
During a short career, Fleischman has received rave reviews and awards for his distinctive stories, radically different from each other. Here the author gives way to the poet, his alter ego, composing works that are arranged as duets but can also be relished by one alone, reading or reciting the lines as paeans to birds of various feathers. From dawn to dusk, Fleishchman keeps his ears attuned to the music and messages in the calling of finches, wax wings, condors, sparrows, the passenger pigeon (lamenting over its kin, murdered by the millions), finally the owl who owns the night. The doves of Dodono in Greece sing about people who beseech the goddess for answers; the wandering albatross thinks about shipwrecks, mariners swept into the ocean beneath the bird's wings. There are many other wonders to experience in the echoic, inspiring poetry. Nutt's splendid drawings complement and enhance the words in a singular book. (All ages)