Kevin is the youngest of five boys with both his parents being doctors. Everyone thinks that means that they are rich, he gets everything he wants and they have a life like that doctor Cliff Huxtable on T.V. Truth is, Kevin's parents are always gone and even his brother Petey, who is the closest to him in age, is more interested in his band and girls. Plus, he's still mad at him over the tornado incident. Kevin identifies himself as the "accident" in the family, which really frustrates him and he ends up looking for some attention, even if it's negative attention. So it's on this first day of seventh grade that Kevin seeks out his "first prey." Giant John, Freckle-Face Kelly and Robin seem like the most likely candidates this year. Kevin's acting out takes many forms; picking on classmates, writing haiku's in a notebook, and ripping pages out of "old library books that no one reads anymore anyways," to create found poems that mock the teachers at school. Kevin takes the text from books like The Wind in the Willow, Wizard of Oz and White Fang and reorders them with some added text to make his hilarious poems. Things go sour when Robin gets ahold of his notebook and starts to blackmail him. Being on the other end of a bully gives Kevin a whole new perspective.
Rhyme Schemer is written in verse. It is a hilarious, heartfelt, genuine look at the transition of a lonely boy from being a bully to having the tables turned on him and becoming the one who is being bullied. Kevin is a sympathetic character with genuine feelings of wanting to be seen as tough as a rock on the outside.
Jagged stone turns to smooth rock.
Rocks don't die.
Rocks have no feelings.
Rocks don't care."
Holt utilizes descriptive words, phrases and lines in an entertaining and insightful way for her readers. The addition of found poems was creative and allows you to look at written text in a whole new way. There is also a nice librarian, who figures out what Kevin is doing, and helps him to find a better outlet for his creativity. I especially enjoyed the ode's to a Principal's ties.
I received a review copy from the publisher for free via Edelweiss for consideration for the 2014 Cybils awards in Middle Grade Fiction.
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