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Big Talk: Poems for Four Voices
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Big Talk: Poems for Four Voices

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  142 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
"Following his Newbery Medal-winning Joyful Noise, Fleischman offers another collection of beautifully orchestrated, spirited poems for many voices." — BOOKLIST

These rousing, rib-tickling poems demand the joy of reading aloud. Settle back and chant "The Quiet Evenings Here," as Grandma rocks, the clock tick-tocks, and no one cares a hoot for the world outside. Delight in "
Paperback, 48 pages
Published March 25th 2008 by Candlewick Press (first published March 1st 2000)
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L-Crystal Wlodek
This book of poems is recommended for students in grades 5-8. This book is a collection of poems for multiple readers to be used for read louds, as four voices intertwine to narrate three different poems and scenarios. Each reader follows color coded lines as they read about ghosts, gossip, and grandma rockin’. Each scenario also gets progressively harder and each poem is rich in rhythm, sense, and sound.

Reading through these scenarios requires a little practice, but is sure to bring laughter, i
What? Well, here is another of Fleischman's poetry books for multiple voices, but this one is for FOUR voices. It seems a real challenge to read, with the four voice "lines" moving across the page. You have to read is something like a musical score. It has three poems in it, each one several pages long. One is about a family who likes their quiet evenings together, strumming/chirping/popping/tapping, which, after several stanzas doesn't sound so quiet. The second is about middle school kids--rea ...more
Oct 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, grades-3-5
This book has poems that can be used with four different speakers or speaking groups. Once you get a rhythm going with these poems, they can be a lot of fun to perform. There are four colors to help with choosing parts and each speaker's part will be in that color throughout the entire book. The book is composed of three poems.

This was a nice book of poems that children could have a lot of fun with. It can be a little challenging when it comes to reading the correct part at the ri
Grace Livengood
May 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Fleischman, P., & Giacobbe, B. (2000). Big talk: Poems for four voices. Cambridge, Mass: Candlewick Press.
Through the narration of four different voices, readers are given the chance to hear the power of the overlap of different voices in poetry and how it can add to the literary experience. We walk through the experiences of four different students as they speak what they are feeling and with their overlap, we can see how they relate to one another. The different color coordinated lines and
Madison Gervais
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, grade-3-5

This book is very interesting and contains a bunch of silly poems that four people read at the same time. There really is no plot to it; it is simply a goofy book for kids to enjoy.


I read it by myself so I am not entirely sure how the reading with four people would work, but I think in a classroom full of children this poetry book would be a blast! The concept in itself is very interesting as well. The thought of the children all trying to read it together is very funny.

May 30, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a short little book full of several different poems that are meant for four different people to read at once. So at times all four people were supposed to be reading the same part and other times only one person was reading it. This is a type of poem that I had never heard of before and can be very fun for children to read.

The illustrations in this book are very unique and actually quite simple. The text and the illustrations were aligned in such a way where you would follow the line an
Abbie Shawano
Personal Reaction:

-This book was not one of my favorites. While reading it, I got confused and I was unable to understand it fully the entire time. It is a poetry book with many different characters doing numerous actions.


-I would read this book aloud to children between the grades of first and second.
-Although it is a poetry book, the only helpful tool I got from it was the use of repetition and some vocabulary like "e-mail" or "saxophone."
-The layout of the poems was interesting and
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This would be marvelous for groups of students to perform. Speakers say the words in a particular color band across the pages, and all together, four speakers perform Fleischman's "word music." The only quibble I have is that the bright colors and illustration style seemed to call for a slightly younger audience than the text level and topics (ghosts watching a family eat, and a "7th Grade Soap Opera" poem on sneaking out of the house and shoplifting). Would be great to perform with grades four ...more
I love the "poems for four voices" concept! I just wish this had more than three poems with a wider variety of subjects. Two of the poems deal with families and one is for middle school students. These could certainly be used in a classroom or school library setting. They would be a great way to help build reading fluency, among other things. I made a few modifications to the first poem to fit an upcoming family reunion, and I'll be performing it there with some family members. We'll see how it ...more
I like the idea of this a bit better than I like the actual execution of it. I think it's cool for poetry units and for drama classes. There were only 3 poems in this book. Granted they were long ones and the format for writing out a poem this way takes up a lot more space, but the range of interests is limited. Still, this would be so cool to hear read aloud, and you can then challenge students to find favorite poems and format them for four voices.
This book wasn't my favorite book. I thought the topics of the poems were kind of odd and not very interesting to me. I've heard multiple voice poems before and I have read some, but this one didn't appeal to me very much mostly because of the subject matter. I think part of the problem was that we didn't have a lot of time to practice it and perfect it so I didn't think it sounded that impressive. With some practice performing it iI might grow to like it a little better.
May 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I read "The Quiet Evenings Here" and all the poems in the book require four people to read. More than one can talk at a time. I didn't actually read it aloud because I didn't have three other people with me in the library but I'm sure it sounds awesome. Some of the words probably sound like what they're describing. For example, "grandma rockin'" sounds like rocking and "clock tick-tockin'" sounds like tick-tocking. So that makes it more "alive" and sound really cool :)
Sep 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s, poetry
Even though this is a "children's book" this is really a great read and something that would be great for teachers. Paul Fleischman is one of the most innovative and creative writers writing today, and the way he plays with language--how it sounds orally, how it appears on the page, how it sounds (rhymes, alliteration, etc). Don't let the "children's" classification scare you away from this cute read!
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book of elementary-age appropriate group performance poetry. It helps students learn to move to the rhythm of poetry and how to perform it with others. This book requires four readers to perform each poem. These poems are appropriate for elementary students grades 3 and higher. It would be an interesting class activity for everyone to perform.
Apr 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: math, poetry
This book gives students an opportunity to "perform" poetry, experimenting with and discovering rhythm and voice.
Relating to math, I think it can also help students to gain a deeper understanding of patterns - the students often read the poetry in a set pattern, or the poem itself has a set pattern.
Audrey Rozman
Multiple voice poems require concentration and participation from readers. They often time require a bit of practice for ALL readers. This is a great way for struggling readers and on track readers to participate together in an activity that requires focus and teamwork. It also helps students with volume, character, and timing while reading aloud.
This is a poetry book meant to be read by 4 different voices. It has three stories in it that students can read together. At times students speak in unison and other times by themselves. I would use this to make poetry fun and help students work on fluency. It could be used for older kids but also for younger kids during "read to self" time of daily five.
Sarah Federspiel
Big Talk: Poems for Four Voices is a innovative book of poetry that allows for several readers to participate in reading one poem. In the book, different parts of the poem are highlighted in different colors, and each student reads a different color. I think that this book would be a fun way to introduce poetry to students and keep them involved.
Gwen the Librarian
This is a really interesting concept book from Fleischman. It's part music, part verse, part story. You and three other people each have a speaking part. You follow the colored lines, but the order is written like music on the page. Would your kids cooperate to read this together? That's the real test.
Leah Gimre
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book because they are great poems that more than one person can read. It is great to have students read their part of the poem. Then they can also come up with their own poems that have multiple voices.
Dec 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this author. He has a great ear for rhythm and flow. This book is really 3 poems meant to be read by 4 people at once (everyone has a different part-- sometimes in unison, sometimes not). Great for teacher types. Great for performance. Not really a sit-down-and-read-alone kind of thing.
Paige Smith
This is an extremely interactive book for multiple readers. It tells fun stories in the form of poems. It would definitely take some practice for readers to master reading the story in time together.
Amber Fuhrman
May 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: elementary
This book is great for students to work in groups. It will allow them to work together and cohesively to finish their poem. The poems are also fun and light-hearted, suited well for younger students.
Rajdai Seemongal
I loved that this book gave an opportunity to engage small group participation. Everyone can have a chance. You can even engage the entire class to recite different parts of the poem. Excellent lesson to teach while on a poetry unit!!
Apr 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Although this is a children's book of three poems, it is a meaningful read. I think "Ghosts' Grace" will inspire readers to slow down at the dinner table and truly enjoy both the meal and the company.
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book! I find it is interesting that it has so many voices. It's a great way to practice fluency as well as working together. You can do a lot with it. You can have it for more of a challenge in poetry for older grades or higher achievers.
Paul  Hankins
I had a little difficulty getting my head wrapped around the rhythms here, but I didn't have three other readers. So, I ordered a copy and I will let my students work through the pieces to see how it goes. They seem to get this kind of thing pretty quickly.
Feb 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I especially like the middle poem, Seventh Grade Soap Opera. This would be one terrific Language Arts project that would take lots of practice!
Maddy Kundel
Loved this book! I thought it was so much fun for a poetry lesson and gives kids a more interactive poetry reading that they otherwise might not be used to.
This is a great book for group reading or a reader's theater. It takes a bit of concentration to read but is very enjoyable.
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Paul Fleischman grew up in Santa Monica, California. The son of well-known children's novelist Sid Fleischman, Paul was in the unique position of having his famous father's books read out loud to him by the author as they were being written. This experience continued throughout his childhood.
Paul followed in his father's footsteps as an author of books for young readers, and in 1982 he released
More about Paul Fleischman...