Voices in the Park

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DK Pub., 2002 - Juvenile Fiction - 32 pages
3 Reviews
The four seasons in a city park are represented by apes in human clothing: a rich, uptight woman in the fall; a sad, unemployed man in the winter; the woman's lonely boy in the spring; the man's joyful daughter in the summer. Each one sees the place and the others differently, yet together the voices tell a story. Full-color illustrations.

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User Review  - treelee0609 - Overstock.com

This book has so many applications for the classroom. Obviously I bought it for that reason however my own children have LOVED it as well! The colors of the book POP the point of views of the ... Read full review

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Voices in the Park by Anthony Brown tells a story of the same event, viewed from four different perspectives. The first perspective is from a strict, uptight mother, the second is of a lonely, young boy, the third is from a worried father and the final perspective is of a warm and loving young girl. Each character paints the picture of their individual experiences of a day at the park. The characters are shown as apes in the book, which eliminates any race issues and highlights the difference in class through the characters clothing, font and manner of speaking as it is first person.
Brown uses visual images and different fonts in order to communicate the theme of friendship and different perspectives. The books structure is separated into four different sections using different fonts to highlight the different perspectives and characteristics of each character.
Through the use of different fonts, Browne is able to depict the characteristics of the speaker, for example, when the young girl’s perspective is being told, the writing is more childish, fun and curvy, whereas when the strict mother presents her side of the story, the writing is straight lines and formal.
Furthermore Browne uses imagery to depict the characters feelings about the event. Where the mother might feel threatened or uptight, the imagery shows it with tense facial expressions and shadows over strangers faces, whereas the same event from another characters point of view will show relaxation and lighter features around them at the exact same moment(Unswroth & Wheeler, 2002).
Browne has structured this book to follow four different perspectives. The book is segregated to allow the reader to clearly distinguish between characters and the manner of speaking changes between each character, revealing age, social status/class and characteristics. Through using these language features in the book, we are able to emphasize with certain characters, such as the father and the son, as well as form likes or dislikes for other characters like the mother as she is judgemental and snobby.
Browne conveys the theme of friendship and different perspectives well, while also supporting the moral of “don’t judge a book by its cover”. I strongly believe that the moral and theme are both very important for children and adults to learn and so this book is a great resource to use in the classroom as well as in everyday life. It helps us to understand that not everyone will see an event in the same way and so it is important to avoid judging others before we have walked a mile in their shoes. The book also reinforces the naivety of children who are ignorant to the issues of class and background and can make friends regardless of these factors.
Overall the book is effective in communicating the theme and moral of the story through the use of visuals, fonts and structure. Browne conveys the different perspectives well and highlights the issue of class well by eliminating any other issues that could arise, such as race. The book is a great resource for young children and can be applied to adult lives too, reaching a wide audience and communicating an important message for everyday life.
Unswroth, L., & Wheeler, J. (2002). Re-valuing the role of images in reviewing picture books. Reading : Language and Literacy , 36 (2), 68-74.

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