Voices in the Park

Voices in the Park

Book rating: 05 Paperback

By (author) Anthony Browne

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  • Publisher: DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley)
  • Format: Paperback | 32 pages
  • Dimensions: 244mm x 290mm x 5mm | 204g
  • Publication date: 19 December 2001
  • Publication City/Country: New York, NY
  • ISBN 10: 078948191X
  • ISBN 13: 9780789481917
  • Edition statement: American Paperb.
  • Sales rank: 4,414

Product description

Lives briefly intertwine when two youngsters meet in the park.

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By Bev Collins 26 Oct 2013 5

BROWNE, A. (1998). VOICES IN THE PARK. New York: DK Publishing, Inc.
Anthony BrowneΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β„’s Voices in the park (1998) is contemporary realistic fiction, in the form of a picture book. On the surface this book is about a trip to the park, told from four different viewpoints. At a deeper level, Browne is highlighting the theme of socio-economic and personality differences. In typical Browne style, the heart of this book is its unique surreal artwork, providing a rich visual feast for the eyes.
The voices referred to in the title belong to two families. There are Charles, his mother and ΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬Ε“Victoria, our pedigree LabradorΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬Β; and Smudge, her father and Albert - ΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬Ε“some scruffy mongrelΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬Β to quote CharlesΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β„’ mother. Victoria and Albert hit it off from page two, much to MotherΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β„’s annoyance. One striking picture shows Mother with her hat blown straight up off her head, the flowers standing up off her scarf and vectors drawing the eye to her. The reader is aligned with Smudge looking at Mother from a high angle close up view, emphasising MotherΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β„’s superiority. (SheΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β„’s) ΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬ΛœΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬ΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β¦really angry, the silly twitΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β„’ thinks Smudge.
Browne very effectively separates his characters in multiple ways. Each is introduced with a heading (First, Second, Third and Fourth Voice). A different font for each voice cleverly represents their characteristics of judgment, depression, oppression and cheerfulness. The characters are drawn as gorillas, whose wonderful expressions range from proud self-righteousness and alarm to sad longing and joy. They represent different seasons, shown visually through form, colour and shadow. A lamp post creates a stunning vector separating the elegance of MotherΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β„’s world and the shabbiness of DadΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β„’s. The same post later highlights CharlesΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β„’ gloom and SmudgeΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β„’s hope. Layout in this picture has the children at the bottom looking at each other, offering the viewer freedom to focus on the top. CharlesΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β„’ landscape is overcast, with storm clouds and leafless trees. SmudgeΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β„’s background depicts light, clear blue sky, leafy trees and a fairy tale castle.
Although the illustrations appear simple, each visit becomes an adventure of exciting discovery. ΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬Ε“I know itΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β„’s a waste of time but youΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β„’ve got to have some hope, havenΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β„’t you?ΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬Β asks Dad as he reads the paper in search of a job, a picture of The Scream on the paperΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β„’s cover echoing his despair. However ΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬Ε“Smudge cheered me up. She chattered happily to me all the way home.ΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬Β The wall passed on their return journey is transformed from drab to warmly glowing by the lamp post, which is now a huge flower. More examples of intertextuality appear as Santa, previously begging by the wall is now dancing on his toes beside The laughing cavalier and Mona Lisa. The latter two, previously trapped, miserable and sitting in a puddle, have escaped their frames and are in each otherΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β„’s arms, dancing. One senses a feeling of victory, highlighted by King KongΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β„’s silhouette on top of the nearby high rise, itsΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β„’ dull grey windows transformed to bright yellow, green and red. The overall mood has changed from bleakness to joy.
Voices in the park is a treasure for all age groups ΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β€œ the very young for the simple story and stunning illustrations, and for older readers the deeper meaning calling from each page. Anthony Browne has hit the mark with this book, which in his own words, ΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬Ε“leave[s] a gap that is filled by the readerΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β„’s imaginationΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬ΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β¦ΓƒΖ’Ζ’Ζ’Ζ’ΓƒΖ’Ζ’β€šΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬Β A book well worth reading again and again, Voices in the park is a valuable addition to any library.