Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Poetry Week by Week: Review of RHYME SCHEMER by K.A. Holt

Poetry Week by Week would not be complete without at least one review of a verse novel. I've read a few new ones recently, and my favorite is RHYME SCHEMER by K.A. Holt.

I discovered RHYME SCHEMER by accident. I was browsing the "new books" shelf in the children's area of my local library when this bright yellow cover caught my eye. When I saw the title, I immediately snatched it up, thinking with a title like that this must be a verse novel (I am always up for a verse novel read). I was right!

RHYME SCHEMER is the story of a bully. The kind of kid who will trip you in the hallway and just generally act like a real jerk. He's even mean through poems that he posts secretly throughout the school! Eventually, though, he is the one being bullied.

This book is everything I love about verse novels. The poems draw you in and make you feel for the main character, Kevin, even though at first he is someone you would love to despise (I mean, who likes a bully, right?). I love the way the author uses poetry not just to tell this character's story, but as an influence in his life. You witness his transformation as a person and as a poet, which the following excerpt illustrates perfectly:

By the way,
this isn't even poetry.
It's just thoughts
on paper
rapid fire
with not as many words
as usual thoughts
and none of those dumb
likes or as-es
or talking about trees
that old ladies like.
These are real thoughts
like a TV scroll
with a flow that's like a stream
that just flies out of my brain
like barf
but less gross.
Most of the time.

Three likes just then.
Oh man.
Maybe this is poetry.
But cooler than regular poetry.


© K. A. Holt

In some ways, this books reminds me of LOVE THAT DOG by Sharon Creech because of the way Jack and Kevin each have their own journey of discovery and growth through poetry. 

RHYME SCHEMER is a fantastic middle grade read. I think it will appeal especially to boys who, in my experience, have been more reluctant to read books in this style. Pick this book up at the library, or purchase a copy for your home or classroom shelves. You won't be sorry!


  1. This book sounds awesome! Thanks for sharing. I'm certainly going to look for it at the library. And it does sound like a great book for a reluctant boy reader--lots of white space, fast read, humor, and boy POV. All this in verse format! :)

  2. It is a fast read. I read it in less than an hour! I hope you enjoy it.


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