Holbrook's (Wham! It's a Poetry Jam: Discovering Performance Poetry) collection of 40 poems communicates moments of insight and surprise, but many poems begin with a perceptive detail and then carry it to an abstraction that undercuts the impact of the mood or message. The strongest poems adopt various perspectives to examine friendship. The poet riffs on the language of finance for one such verse ("Investments"): "Securities/ I've borrowed/ from the pockets/ of your mind/ and tucked them/ secret places/ to be returned/ in kind." Her look at a child's disenchantment with a friend in "Mistrust" is just as effective: "What truth wraps up,/ mistrust unties./ You can't hold/ friends/ in a/ pack/ of lies." However, "Amused" begins in clever wordplay ("A muse./ The accidental thought,/ the sticky ruse/ my daydreams brought") then picks up mixed metaphors ("Till someone yells/ and hurry pushes/ my dawdle to respond,/ but not for long"), eventually devolving into a berating for procrastination ("Again./ Again./ I'm late"). Cartoonish line drawings contribute little to the verses' meaning. The poems that tap into the most pressing experiences of childhood, many having to do with connection to others (e.g., in "Pout": "No use/ acting nice to me/ when I'm stuck/ in a pout./ I can't let your/ niceness in/ until my mad/ wear/ out") will be most resonant with readers. Ages 9-up. (Apr.)
Gr 4-7-A wide range of emotions that preadolescents and young teens must cope with, such as anger, mistrust, disappointment, jealousy, honesty, and loneliness, are addressed in these 40 brief poems. About half can be found in collections previously published by Wordsong. For the most part, the selections deal lightly, often glibly, with these subjects. Sketchy, black-and-white cartoonlike illustrations match the upbeat tone and keep the material from becoming too weighty. Additional.-Sally R. Dow, Ossining Public Library, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
"TV came / out of radio, / free verse / came out of rhyme. / I am / coming out of middle school, / changing all the time." In 40 short poems, half new, half gathered from previous collections, Holbrook captures the changeable emotional skies of early adolescence with clear-eyed observations on friendship’s responsibilities, on honesty, doubt, anger, grief, and similar topics. The poet not only steers clear of ambiguities, but displays such a consistent "ear" for vocal impact that her poems will make rousing, crowd-pleasing read-alouds. Newcomer Mattern’s unobtrusive line drawings reflect each poem’s topic and tone expertly. A fine choice for poetry breaks and a natural complement to the poet’s Wham! It’s a Poetry Jam (2002). (Poetry. 11-13)