Holt, K. A., and Gahan Wilson. 2010. Brains for lunch: a zombie novel in haiku?! New York: Roaring Brook Press. ISBN#: 9781596436299.
This poetry books is very different from others. It uses poetic form of haiku with verse novel. The viewpoint is that of a middle school student who is a zombie or "z" names Loeb. In this book Loeb experiences interest in his librarian and a "lifer" (human). This book illustrates difficulties that a middle school student may experience.
Since the theme is of zombies, the reader will instantly be drawn to it. By having these zombie nature, readers will enjoy the jokes and cleverness before understanding its lessons. This also helps to draw the reader into poetry.
Brains for Lunch also draws kids into reading about common problems within that middle school age group. The "lifers" and zombies illustrate different groups within the school. Loeb also shows crushes on a Librarian and a "lifer", who he is not supposed to like. This book, while comical, shows situations that male students may face in school.
It also draws to male students with its gross nature. This verse novel brains, guts, maggots, death and other elements that boys would more than likely by drawn to.
Brains for Lunch touches different areas of school such as lunch, library, hallway, detention, girl's lav, and the final contest location. Loeb is encouraged to participate in a poetry competition. While he doesn't think that he can accomplish this, he gains support in doing so. This is great for kids this age because it shows the hardships that they go through with a comical aspect that they can laugh about.
Eye poked out again
Bottom lockers really suck
"Hey Mags! Wait for me!"
"This Zs gotta pee."
"So you ARE talking to me?
Another Eye roll''
Catch it, hand it back
"What did I do this time, Mags?"
A withering look
She doesn't scare me
Her wither's worse that her roll
"She's married, you know."
Mags cuts to the chase
It sure took her long enough
"Who? Mrs. Fincher?"
"Who else, you moron?"
I'm putrefying again
"The way you flirt, Barf."
Introducing the Poem:
This portion of "hallway" shows Loeb and Mags talking about Loeb's crush on the librarian. It shows that he is embarrassed by it and the girl makes fun of him. This shows a common theme among that age group- embarrassment.
Introducing this poetry book could be more difficult than others because of its strange nature. It shows haiku in book form. I would introduce this book in sections. One day I would read a few lines to get them interested and then read the rest on other days. Since the book has several sections this would keep their interest heightened.
This book also shows Loeb trying to get involved with school activities. I think introducing this character and his struggles would help other students accomplishing a specific activity as well. This book could be read to the class over a period of time and with the last section the class could practice haiku or try to involve themselves in a specific activity.