________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 27. . . .March 19, 2010

cover

Think Again.

JonArno Lawson. Illustrated by Julie Morstad.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2010.
64 pp., hardcover, $18.95.
ISBN 978-1-55453-423-4.

Subject Heading:
Children's poetry, Canadian (English).

Grades 5-9 / Ages 10-14.

Review by David Jenkinson.

*** /4

   

excerpt:

Be Careful Who You Make Friends With

Enemies

Who weren't once friends

Are often better

At making amends.

 

Poetry isn't a literary form that a lot of 'tweens and teens will openly admit enjoying, and Think Again is not the collection that will necessarily change such attitudes. Nonetheless, Lawson's 48 quatrains do have a certain charm that will definitely attract readers. The cover flap states that "This collection of quietly beautiful and surprisingly short poems reveals first love's uncertainties, frustrations and joys." For most readers, the love story likely won't be immediately apparent on a first reading as they focus on the contents of the individual quatrains rather than seeking to make connections between and among the poems. However, the cover illustration portrays a bathing suit clad "couple," and the book's title invites readers to "think again." For those who accept that invitation, a second reading, especially when Morstad's simple pen and ink illustrations are consciously added to the reading, does reveal the arc of young love, from its tentative beginnings, through its highs, to the almost inevitable breakup and separation. Further re-readings will add even more dimensions to the couple's "story" as, like all good poetry, Lawson's poems provide immediate understandings while calling for readers to look "behind" the surface. For instance, because readers are never explicitly told why this romance "failed," readers are invited to conjecture and to use the poems' contents as a starting point. And for those who never "see" the couple's "story," many of the individual poems will, nevertheless, still speak to them. For example, with so many single parent homes today, I suspect that many young readers can identify with:

internal artMy Dad

My Dad had a mid-life crisis

quit his wife and job.

The briefest summing up suffices:

Gave himself up to his vices

Lives on beer and pizza slices.

     The collection's brevity, combined with an open format featuring one quatrain per page or pair of facing pages, makes Think Again inviting to those who might normally ignore poetry.

Recommended.

Dave Jenkinson, who lives in Winnipeg, MB, is CM's editor.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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