No Talking
by Clements, Andrew; Elliott, Mark (ILT)

The noisy fifth grade boys of Laketon Elementary School challenge the equally loud fifth grade girls to a "no talking" contest.

Andrew Clements (1949&;2019) was the author of the enormously popular Frindle. More than 10 million copies of his books have been sold, and he was nominated for a multitude of state awards, including two Christopher Awards and an Edgar Award. His popular works include About Average, Troublemaker, Extra Credit, Lost and Found, No Talking, Room One, Lunch Money, and more. He was also the author of the Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School series. Find out more at

Mark Elliott has a BFA in illustration from the School of Visual Arts. He has illustrated a number of book covers, and his work has been exhibited at the Society of Illustrators and the Art Directors Guild. Mark lives on a sheep farm in the Hudson Valley region of New York.

Ah, silence-the pipe dream of the frazzled educator. In Clements' latest novel, however, a group of fifth graders turn silence to their own subversive ends, yielding a comic yet thoughtful classroom drama in a mode the popular author has made his own. Inspired by Gandhi's daylong rituals of silence, Dave devises a contest to determine whether girls or boys can keep their traps shut the longest. As the diversion builds to something more significant, the kids' creative adaptations, such as the "condensed haiku" of their spoken interactions with grown-ups, form a big part of the story. Equally prominent are the responses of teachers, who struggle in different ways with the controlling principal's mandate to discipline the zip-lipped miscreants. Clements tosses out more issues than the brief, fablelike story can fully absorb, with kids' experience of silence as "exciting," even "dangerous," coming across the least clearly. But the school dynamics are spot-on, and the paradoxical notion of opening up one's experience of the world by imposing constraints upon it will intrigue readers of any age. Illustrations not seen. Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

A vintage tale from the master of the theme-driven, feel-good school story. Having learned during the preparation of a class report that Mahatma Gandhi habitually spent one day a week not talking, Dave decides to try that out-but in the wake of a lunchroom shouting match with fellow fifth-grader Lynsey, the solo effort escalates into a two-day zipped-lip contest between the whole grade's infamously noisy boys and girls. As usual, Clements works out the rules and complications in logical ways (three-word replies to direct questions from adults are OK, for instance, which makes for some comical dialogue), casts no sociopaths among his crew of likable, well-intentioned young folk to spoil the experience and makes his points in engagingly indirect ways. The experiment soon takes on profound implications, too, as the collective action turns into civil disobedience when the autocratic principal decides to put a stop to it. By the end, the two camps have become more allies than rivals, and Dave has seen himself and those around him taking strides toward becoming more thoughtful, compassionate people. A strong addition to the "waging peace" genre. (Fiction. 9-11) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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