SHAKESPEARE BATS CLEANUP by Ron Koertge

SHAKESPEARE BATS CLEANUP

Age Range: 10 - 12

KIRKUS REVIEW

Koertge (Brimstone Journals, 2001, etc.) joins the ever-swelling ranks of writers experimenting with novels-in-verse with this journal of a teenaged jock who develops a taste for writing poetry while laid up with mono. Confined to the house, and mostly to bed, Kevin starts sneaking peeks into a prosody manual of his father’s, and trying his hand at different poetic forms, from haiku (“Frogs, frogs, frogs, frogs, frogs / Frogs, frogs, frogs, frogs, frogs, frogs, frogs, / Frogs, frogs, frogs, frogs, leaves”), sonnet, and pantoum (look it up), to ballad, sestina, blank and free verse. He discovers along the way that he likes the way poetry focuses language, and also makes it easier to express feelings—particularly about the loss of his mother. Reflectively tracking his slow recovery, Kevin also chronicles his struggle to regain a place in his baseball team’s starting lineup, and a developing relationship with Mira, a new friend who doesn’t laugh off his literary efforts. In the end, although his life is reshaped by his long illness, the future (except on the playing field) still looks bright. Kevin’s mix of lame and not-so-lame poems effectively convey realistic learning and recovery curves—and may also plant the idea in receptive readers that it’s okay for guys to write. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7636-2116-1
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2003




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