Author: Anthony Browne
Illustrator: Anthony Browne
Publisher: DK Publishing Inc.
Audience: Upper Elementary Children/Middle School Youth Group
Summary: Charley, his mother, Smudge and her father are four characters in a story about a visit to the park. The illustrations in the book show that the four main characters are monkeys. Charley and his mother live in a very nice home in the suburbs and have a pedigreed dog. Smudge and her unemployed father live in the city and have a common, ordinary dog. The story is divided into 4 “voices” as each character tells about the visit to the park from his/her point of view.
Literary elements at work in the story: Point of view and characterization are the most important elements in this story. One visit to the park is recounted in four different ways as each character tells about what happened from his/her point of view. Charley’s mother is portrayed as a very wealthy woman who looks down on Smudge’s unemployed father and refers to him as a “rough character.” The illustrations portray Smudge’s father as a person who does not have a lot of money. The two children do not seem to notice the stark differences in their lifestyles at all as they play together.
Perspective on gender/race/culture/economic ability: Economic ability is highlighted in this book. The illustrations of Charley’s mother and their home are a clear indication that the child lives a privileged life. Smudge’s father illustrates the opposite end of the economic spectrum. He is unemployed and looks in the newspaper for a job.
Scripture: Romans 15:7, Galatians 3:26, John 15:12
- Christians are called to accept one another just as Christ accepted us and live in unity.
- We are all God’s children no matter how we look, where we live, or how much money we have.
- Loving one another as God loves is the foundation for all that we do.
Faith Talk Questions:
- Based on the story and the author’s illustrations, what do you think life is like for Charlie? Smudge?
- The two dogs and the two children seem to enjoy their time together in the park. Why do you think this is so?
- Why does Charlie’s mother refer to Smudge as a “rough-looking child” and her father as a “frightful type” when she does not know either of them?
- Why does the illustration of the park at the beginning of Voice Four look different from all the other illustrations of the park in the book?
- If you could write a message about the final illustration in this story, what would it be?
Review prepared by Marcia Rauch, MACE, Entering cohort Fall 2006
Voices in the Park by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.