Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Zombies! Evacuate the School!

Zombies! Evacuate the School!

Sara Holbrook
Illustrator:  Karen Sandstrom 
For ages 8 to 11
Wordsong, 2010   ISBN: 978-1590788202

Do you remember reading sing songy poems in an old Mother Goose book? Perhaps you had a copy of Robert Louis Stevenson’s A child’s garden of verses? I am willing to guess that you think writing poetry is easy. Sure it is, all you have to do is to make words rhyme. Actually, it is not easy at all, which is what Sara Holbrook discovered when one of her middle school teachers told her to write a poem. Not knowing how to even begin to write a poem, Sara ‘borrowed’ a poem from a book of poetry that she had at home. Needless to say, she was “busted” and told to write her own poem.

Thankfully, Sara has come a long way since she was in middle school. For this book, she explores school days and experiences using various poetry forms. What makes this book unique is that she is determined to help would-be poets to find their own voice. Mixed in with the poems are tips to help writers who want to try writing poems of their own. Prompts, questions, and suggestions will help readers to begin their own journey into poetry writing.

The third poem in the book is about a journey on a big yellow school bus. Full of onomatopoeic words, it perfectly captures the noise and discomfort that comes with riding on a bumpy school bus. A note next to the poem talks about how Sara Holbrook used her own remembered bus rides to “write this bumpin,’ thumpin,’ omopatopeia-jumpin’” poem.

Later on in the book, she shows readers how imagery and “sensory details” can be used to great effect. In Oh No! a child sees two girls carrying a tray of delicious cupcakes walking by. Of course, the child hopes that he or she will get to taste the delicious treats, but unfortunately, the birthday party is in another class.

In this book, Sara Holbrook uses humor, sensitivity, and creativity to help readers to appreciate poetry on a new level.