cover image Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices

Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices

Paul Fleischman. HarperCollins, $17.99 (64pp) ISBN 978-0-06-021852-2

Fleischman and Beddows (I Am Phoenix) are paired again for another remarkable collection of poems written to be read, by two people, out loud. Mayflies, moths, crickets and other insects join voices in clever musical duets. Fireflies are ""insect calligraphers'' who use their light as ink on the parchment of the night, cicadas ``chant from the treetops'' their ``booming joyful noise,'' and two honeybeesa queen and a droneexplain contrapuntally why they have the best and worst of lives. In one of the wittiest poems in the volume, two book lice discuss how they met on some dusty shelves, ``honeymooned in an old guide book on Greece'' and adore each other in spite of opposite tasteshe prefers Shakespeare and she Spillane. Beddows's black-and-white drawings blend biology-text accuracy with charming cartoon fancies and keep pace with the imaginative verse. All ages. (March)