Rummanah Aasi
  If you walk through any school's busy hallway, you will be sure to find students yelling over one another and layers of conversations all going on the same time. Educators are always looking for new ways to keep students to mind the noise zone. Librarians are stereotypical known as the "Shushers" who can't seem to handle chatter of any kind. Personally, students chatting doesn't bother me as long as it doesn't interfere with others learning and I am not able to hear every detail of the conversation while sitting at my desk. No Talking by Andrew Clements is a pipe dream of a frazzled teacher. In an ideal world students are able to recognize that they are, well, a little bit loud and correct the problem on their own. While this may seem impossible, we can live in this world vicariously through this book.

Description: While doing a class report on India, Dave learned that Mahatma Gandhi habitually spent one day a week not talking in order to center his mind, Dave decides to try that out. He is successful until lunchtime, where he is engaged in a shouting match with fellow fifth-grader Lynsey. Soon the no talking effort moves from a solo effort to a full blown, two-day zipped-lip contest between the whole grade's infamously noisy boys and girls. Who will win?

Review: Clements has a knack for writing a theme driven novel that is not only funny, but also lays down a "lesson" in the story. While the students are no longer talking, they are still able to communicate by writing down words, speaking in only three word answers given to teachers (which are often very funny moments in the book). Students not only see the difference between how they communicate, but also tend to appreciate the value of talking i.e. not talking when it is not necessary. The plot, though not realistic, is interesting and fast moving. The author includes viewpoints from students as well as teachers. The illustrations by Mark Elliott are lively and add immediacy to the story. Overall, a clean and feel good story for children. This would be a good selection for a classroom or book club discussion.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution:  None.

If you like this book, try: Frindle or Lost and Found by Andrew Clements
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