An upbeat, life-affirming collection that’s a bit too personal and unpolished for general consumption.

POEMS BY THE SILVER SCRIBE

Amusing, exhortative light verse and often highly personal occasional poetry.

These days, anonymity is a curiously conspicuous rhetorical choice for the author of a poetry collection, an effacement that draws attention to itself. However, if this particular nom de plume suggests a certain pretension, perhaps evoking fears of sententious navel-gazing, don’t fear: Fortunately, the Silver Scribe is more tongue-in-cheek than word-to-the-wise. Not that he forgoes moralizing, but the moralizing bits tend to be buried by the cornucopia of quirky occasional poems on subjects that arrest the poet’s flitting interest. In addition to the odd word of wisdom and paean to friendship or the charms of the fairer sex, he writes adoringly, humorously and sometimes quite earnestly of Princess Di, Wayne Gretzky, Ronald Reagan, Marlon Brando, a pigeon named Frank, Hurricane Frances, various friends, Mercury the Cat, Pope John Paul II and Elvis—especially Elvis. The King acts as a minor muse, usually inspiring poems that play on anagrams of “Elvis” in some way, which is about as deep as the wordplay runs. By definition, the poetry is doggerel, but good-hearted doggerel; meaning often plays second fiddle to rhyme: “Maybe you could call me a Jack of all Trades / Yet, in the morning my bed I have always made” or the indecipherable “As you drive around to receive your order / The girl takes your money and dares you to get bolder / But, you just thank her for how she works to get older.” Likewise, syntax often suffers when setting up forced rhymes: “As Pope of the entire World he shared his beliefs / He never thought of anyone as to him beneath.” Ultimately, though, it hardly matters, since this is neither a collection about poetic technique nor the weighty words of a silver-headed sage. As the precisely dated entries (implying an absence of revision) and the inclusion of impossibly personal references suggest, this is a glimpse into a private journal, into a joyful, if sometimes naïve, perspective centered on the belief that rhyming is better than whining and song will never lead you wrong.

An upbeat, life-affirming collection that’s a bit too personal and unpolished for general consumption.

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2007

ISBN: 978-1434327598

Page Count: 212

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2013

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A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.

BROTHERS IN ARMS

BLUFORD HIGH SERIES #9

In the ninth book in the Bluford young-adult series, a young Latino man walks away from violence—but at great personal cost.

In a large Southern California city, 16-year-old Martin Luna hangs out on the fringes of gang life. He’s disaffected, fatherless and increasingly drawn into the orbit of the older, rougher Frankie. When a stray bullet kills Martin’s adored 8-year-old brother, Huero, Martin seems to be heading into a life of crime. But Martin’s mother, determined not to lose another son, moves him to another neighborhood—the fictional town of Bluford, where he attends the racially diverse Bluford High. At his new school, the still-grieving Martin quickly makes enemies and gets into trouble. But he also makes friends with a kind English teacher and catches the eye of Vicky, a smart, pretty and outgoing Bluford student. Martin’s first-person narration supplies much of the book’s power. His dialogue is plain, but realistic and believable, and the authors wisely avoid the temptation to lard his speech with dated and potentially embarrassing slang. The author draws a vivid and affecting picture of Martin’s pain and confusion, bringing a tight-lipped teenager to life. In fact, Martin’s character is so well drawn that when he realizes the truth about his friend Frankie, readers won’t feel as if they are watching an after-school special, but as though they are observing the natural progression of Martin’s personal growth. This short novel appears to be aimed at urban teens who don’t often see their neighborhoods portrayed in young-adult fiction, but its sophisticated characters and affecting story will likely have much wider appeal.

A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2004

ISBN: 978-1591940173

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Townsend Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2013

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A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Mary's Song

From the Dream Horse Adventure Series series , Vol. 1

A novel tells the story of two spirited girls who set out to save a lame foal in 1952.

Mary, age 12, lacks muscle control of her legs and must use a wheelchair. Her life is constantly interrupted by trips with her widower father to assorted doctors, all of whom have failed to help her. Mary tolerates the treatments, hoping to one day walk unassisted, but her true passion involves horses. Possessing a library filled with horse books, she loves watching and drawing the animals at a neighboring farm. She longs to own one herself. But her father, overprotective due to her disability and his own lingering grief over Mary’s dead mother, makes her keep her distance. Mary befriends Laura, the emotionally neglected daughter of the wealthy neighboring farm owners, and the two share secret buggy rides. Both girls are attracted to Illusion, a beautiful red bay filly on the farm. Mary learns that Illusion is to be put down by a veterinarian because of a lame leg. Horrified, she decides to talk to the barn manager about the horse (“Isn’t it okay for her to live even if she’s not perfect? I think she deserves a chance”). Soon, Mary and Laura attempt to raise money to save Illusion. At the same time, Mary begins to gain control of her legs thanks to water therapy and secret therapeutic riding with Laura. There is indeed a great deal of poignancy in a story of a girl with a disability fighting to defend the intrinsic value of a lame animal. But this book, the first installment of the Dream Horse Adventure Series, would be twice as touching if Mary interacted with Illusion more. In the tale’s opening, she watches the foal from afar, but she actually spends very little time with the filly she tries so hard to protect. This turns out to be a strange development given the degree to which the narrative relies on her devotion. Count (Selah’s Sweet Dream, 2015) draws Mary and Laura in broad but believable strokes, defined mainly by their unrelenting pluckiness in the face of adversity. While the work tackles disability, death, and grief, Mary’s and Laura’s environments are so idyllic and their optimism and perseverance so remarkable that the story retains an aura of uncomplicated gentleness throughout.

A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Hastings Creations Group

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2016

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