Better suited to poetry classrooms than science labs.

RANDOM BODY PARTS

GROSS ANATOMY RIDDLES IN VERSE

Poetry + anatomy and physiology = an unusual combination.

Bulion has taken a series of poetry styles—sonnet, limerick, haiku, concrete poem, cinquain—as well as various rhyming schemes and uses them to provide brief, riddlelike descriptions of various organs of the human body. Although the first poem tells readers, “Some riddles will seem cinchy, / Some challengingly tough,” the answers are revealed on the same pages as the poems appear, making the guessing quite simple all the way through. Some of the spreads include humorous, cartoony illustrations, while others feature close-up or even microscopic photographic images, none of which are explicitly identified. Detailed “Poetry Notes” provide useful explanations of the styles and rhyming patterns of the poems. She relates each of them to the works of Shakespeare, although the audience that might most enjoy the hyperbole of the poems and images and the riddle format is unlikely to have yet acquired much knowledge of the Bard. The poem on teeth says, “A full set’s eight and twenty more,” although the explanation at the bottom of the page correctly identifies the number of permanent teeth as 32. While it’s hard not to admire the ick factor of couplets like, “Spuds unearthed from mud, then fried, / Mucus oozed from deep inside,” to describe the workings of the stomach, the audience for this effort may be limited.

Better suited to poetry classrooms than science labs. (Poetry. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-56145-737-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2014

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Newbery Medal Winner

THE CROSSOVER

Basketball-playing twins find challenges to their relationship on and off the court as they cope with changes in their lives.

Josh Bell and his twin, Jordan, aka JB, are stars of their school basketball team. They are also successful students, since their educator mother will stand for nothing else. As the two middle schoolers move to a successful season, readers can see their differences despite the sibling connection. After all, Josh has dreadlocks and is quiet on court, and JB is bald and a trash talker. Their love of the sport comes from their father, who had also excelled in the game, though his championship was achieved overseas. Now, however, he does not have a job and seems to have health problems the parents do not fully divulge to the boys. The twins experience their first major rift when JB is attracted to a new girl in their school, and Josh finds himself without his brother. This novel in verse is rich in character and relationships. Most interesting is the family dynamic that informs so much of the narrative, which always reveals, never tells. While Josh relates the story, readers get a full picture of major and minor players. The basketball action provides energy and rhythm for a moving story.

Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch. (Verse fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-10771-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

Outstanding suspense.

WILDFIRE

WHEN TREES EXPLODE

A boy, a girl, a venerable Jeep, and a massive wildfire sweeping across the mountains of Maine. It’s the perfect setup for a riveting tale of high suspense.

Sam and Delphy are staying at separate summer camps on the same lake when the threat of a wildfire forces evacuation—but both are inadvertently left behind. Using the survival skills he learned from his deceased father, Sam hikes cross-country until he finds a remote cabin and the old Jeep that will prove to be his salvation. Only later, barreling along a narrow logging road, does he encounter Delphy. With shades of My Side of the Mountain for a modern audience, 2010 Newbery Honoree Philbrick (The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg) provides the pair of young adolescents, both white, with just enough modern technology to keep the tale credible. It will take all of their courage and wits to survive being lost in the wilderness, even as they are constantly threatened both by the erratic fire and the danger posed by two out-of-control arsonists. Sam’s pithy first-person voice is self-deprecating enough to be fully believable and plays nicely against Delphy’s sometimes less confident but heroically determined character. Short chapters, outstanding cover art, and a breathless pace make this a fine choice for reluctant readers. Interesting backmatter regarding wildfires and survival tips rounds out a thrilling tale.

Outstanding suspense. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-26690-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

more