Poetry that pokes, prods and punches its way right to the heart of friendship. Celebrated performance poet Sara Holbrook shows readers that a good poem is like a good friend, "something to keep close, never lose, or leave behind at a bus stop." This collection of forty-four poems explores the territory of friendship with a hard-edged honesty rare in children's poetry. From schoolmates to teammates, pets to pests, Holbrook explores the heart—and the heartache—of friendship. ...
Poetry that pokes, prods and punches its way right to the heart of friendship. Celebrated performance poet Sara Holbrook shows readers that a good poem is like a good friend, "something to keep close, never lose, or leave behind at a bus stop." This collection of forty-four poems explores the territory of friendship with a hard-edged honesty rare in children's poetry. From schoolmates to teammates, pets to pests, Holbrook explores the heart—and the heartache—of friendship.
Simple line illustrations and poems pair to explore themes of friendship and communication. A boy whose friend has moved away laments his loss ("They left the stairs,/ the toilet, the doorknobs,/ AND/ (I'm living proof)/ a hole in my gut/ the size of the roof"), while other poems touch on the bond between girlfriends, insecurities, promises, and secrets. Holbrook invites reader participation with poems to be read by multiple voices, and she supplies writing suggestions. While some lines feel strained ("Did every kid once in a while wet her pants?/ Think about murder? Eat in a trance?"), the selections tenderly articulate the complexities of identity and social dynamics. Ages 9–11. (Apr.)
- Dawna Lisa Buchanan
Holbrook writes about topics that are almost universally recognizable to young readers—hurt feelings, anger against bullies, worries about being too different—and she includes cartoon bubbles with commentary and suggestions for youngsters to write their own poems or reflect on their feelings. Some of the poems are happy. In "Last Licks" the narrators are trying to hurry to enjoy their ice-cream cones before they melt. Other poems explore anger, sassiness, or sticking up for one's self. In "Moved," Holbrook describes the pain a child feels when a dear friend moves away. She uses rich vocabulary (such as "eloquence" and "diminish") and poetic devices such as alliteration. The collection mixes things up with free verse in some pieces and rhyme in others. Sandstrom's pen, watercolor and ink cartoons bring additional commentary and action to the pages. This reviewer can see good use for this collection in the Language Arts curriculum at the elementary level. Holbrook offers lots of advice and topics, with her poems serving as models. Some are written for two or more "voices," which lend themselves to reader's theater. This might not be a book that readers would "find" by themselves, but in the hands of a teacher, parent or caregiver, it offers a solid glimpse into the power of poetry. Reviewer: Dawna Lisa Buchanan
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—This collection of 44 poems about friendship covers everyday topics like keeping secrets, getting angry, and telling the occasional lie. The introduction stresses the author's belief that reading, writing, and sharing poetry can help kids handle feelings. The first poem, "Me, Too," begins, "Are you normally weird/And strangely the same?/Are you lost and found/with a nervy brain?" and goes on to offer an invitation to friendship. It is a smooth blend of the fresh and the familiar. Other selections, though, seem dashed off and trite, like "Recalculating," which is about a bad day; "Today/turned the wrong way/down a one-way street with/bird poop on its shoulder./If you don't mind,/can we make a deal/and start this whole day over?" It's a plus that cartoon bubbles throughout offer ideas for students to write their own poems. However, while the full-color cartoon artwork is fairly cute and simple, it is not technically accomplished. Jack Prelutsky's Pizza, Pigs, and Poetry: How to Write a Poem (HarperCollins, 2008) offers a better mix of poems and writing ideas for this age group.—Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)
Meet the Author
Sara Holbrook performs her poems around the world and in schools in the United States. She offers workshops for teachers and students that explain how to incorporate poetry and poetry writing across the curriculum. She is also the author