Poor Jeremy Bloom. He just can’t get a break in The D-MInus Poems of Jeremy Bloom. Every time he tries to get on the good side of his teacher, Ms. Terranova, something happens: his father rams her new car, or a stink bomb goes off when the teacher is in the rest room or Jeremy falls asleep during an important moment of the school play and chaos ensues or … well, you get the picture unfolding in this “story” of Jeremy’s school year as told through a mixture of short narratives (in the style of an investigative report) and poems that Jeremy writes (but which somehow keep earning him D- grades. If only they were on a standards-based reporting system …)
This short, clever book by prolific author Gordon Korman and his mom, Bernice (OK, time to take a quick detour. How cool is it that Korman wrote a book with him mom? It struck me at the end of the book, when I realized this partnership was not a husband-wife but a mom-son team, that he is just so lucky to have done this book and got it published. Pretty nifty) is somewhat uneven at times. What I kept wondering is: who IS this teacher who reads the poems that Jeremy is writing AND KEEPS GIVING HIM A D-MINUS. I mean, seriously.
The poems are a wide mix of rhyming and non-rhyming, with lots of wordplay and insightfulness, and the topics of the poems are all about Jeremy’s life and his impressions of school, etc. (The book’s subtitle is A Collection of Poems about School, Homework and Life – Sort of) I enjoyed most of the poems here, although it would have been stronger if there had been a more cohesive narrative underpinning the poems. Most seem sort of random, as if he were writing poems and then stuffing them into a notebook, even as the narrative moves us along through the school year.
Overall, The D-Minus Poems of Jeremy Bloom is an enjoyable read during Poetry Month, but I am not sure who the audience in my classroom will be for it.
Peace (in the poems),