Tuesday, March 29, 2011

No Talking by Andrew Clements

No Talking by Andrew Clements
The Laketon Elementary school has had a huge problem with the Unshushables, the nickname of the fifth grade class. They have been talkative and loud since first grade.  But, what happens when Dave and Lindsey start a No Talking Contest between the girls and the boys? A 2-day contest with a 3-word limit to be used only when an adult asks a question? Whichever side talks less, wins!  How do the teachers react? the parents? How about the principal with her red plastic bullhorn?

My Take (warning: spoiler alert!):
This was a great book with a focus on language and how we use it throughout the day.  Language can be spoken. It can be gestures or sounds. Language can be mean or kind. And in this book you see the demonstration of the power that words can have. Words can tear down or build up.
I loved that Mr. Clements brought out those elements, not with just the students, but you see what the teachers are all thinking as well. They are clueless about the contest at first, so it is interesting to see their different reactions. Some are ecstatic at first, then frustrated because the kids are only answering with three words. Others love it because they are now quiet and the teacher doesn't have to yell at all. Then there are some that don't like it right from the start. Kind of hard to teach music when they won't sing....
I think this is a great middle grade book that kids will love because the students are doing something that is driving some teachers crazy. It is really well written with some great illustrations to enhance the book. I feel Mark Elliot captured some great expressions of the kids with his drawings.