Voices in the Park

Voices in the Park

4.19 (2,593 ratings by Goodreads)
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Different characters tell the same story from their own perspectives in this timeless children's story book, which explores the themes of alienation, friendship, and the bizarre amid the mundane. I called his name . . .
I settled on a bench . . .
I was amazed . . .
I felt really, really happy . . . Four people enter a park, and through their eyes we see four different visions. There's the bossy woman, the sad man, the lonely boy, and the young girl whose warmth touches those she meets. As the story moves from one voice to another, their perspectives are reflected in the shifting landscape and seasons. This is an intriguing, multi-layered, enormously entertaining book that demands to be read again and again. A Family Life Critic's Choice Award winner, Voices in the Park uses radically different perspectives to give fascinating depth to an otherwise simple story.
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Product details

  • 9-12
  • Paperback | 32 pages
  • 243.84 x 289.56 x 5.08mm | 204.12g
  • DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley)
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • American Paperb
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 078948191X
  • 9780789481917
  • 10,001

About Anthony Browne

Anthony Browne is the acclaimed author and illustrator of Gorilla (winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal) The Night Shimmy and Zoo (winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal.) The Shape Game was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal.
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Rating details

2,593 ratings
4.19 out of 5 stars
5 47% (1,221)
4 32% (826)
3 16% (404)
2 4% (106)
1 1% (36)

Our customer reviews

BROWNE, A. (1998). VOICES IN THE PARK. New York: DK Publishing, Inc. Anthony Browne’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 “Victoria, our pedigree Labradorâ€�; and Smudge, her father and Albert - “some scruffy mongrelâ€� to quote Charles’ mother. Victoria and Albert hit it off from page two, much to Mother’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 Mother’s superiority. (She’s) ‘â€Ãƒƒƒ‚¦really angry, the silly twit’ 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 Mother’s world and the shabbiness of Dad’s. The same post later highlights Charles’ gloom and Smudge’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. Charles’ landscape is overcast, with storm clouds and leafless trees. Smudge’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. “I know it’s a waste of time but you’ve got to have some hope, haven’t you?â€� asks Dad as he reads the paper in search of a job, a picture of The Scream on the paper’s cover echoing his despair. However “Smudge cheered me up. She chattered happily to me all the way home.â€� 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 other’s arms, dancing. One senses a feeling of victory, highlighted by King Kong’s silhouette on top of the nearby high rise, its’ 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 – 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, “leave[s] a gap that is filled by the reader’s imaginationâ€Ãƒƒƒ‚¦ÃƒƒÃƒƒ‚¢€� A book well worth reading again and again, Voices in the park is a valuable addition to any library.show more
by Bev Collins
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