Saturday, April 23, 2011

HIDDEN by Helen Frost

Poetry Tag continues with a book review of a new book of poetry connected to yesterday's book review.

Today’s tagline: A novel in poems about teens caught in a crime

Guest Reviewer: Geneva Browning

Featured Book: Frost, Helen. 2011. Hidden. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2011. ISBN-978-0-374-38221-6.

Geneva writes: Frost has written an intriguing free verse novel from two different perspectives-- Wren and Darra. Life is never the same for Wren Abbott and Darra Monson after that fateful experience. An ordinary day for Wren Abbott turns into a nightmare as she is inadvertently kidnapped during a robbery and get-a-way. She is in the back seat of her mom's stolen van. She hides under a blanket in the van and then in a boat in the garage. She is so afraid that all she can do is hide. Darra's life is interrupted when Wren escapes. Darra's father is arrested and her life is never the same all because of Wren Abbott. The girls attend the same summer camp several years later and confront the past, their feelings, and experiences.

Frost invented a new form of poetry to help give insight into Darra's story. Darra's poems are told in long lines; taking the last word of the longest lines to read Darra's thoughts and memories. This is truly an inventive form of a poem within a poem or a story within a story. I highly recommend it.

Poem excerpt from Hidden
by Helen Frost

Darra might look in the boat for her cat.
Should I try to look like a gray sweatshirt
wadded up on the floor of the boat
under the blue boat-cover?
should I let Darra see me?
I didn't know who I could trust.
I stayed quiet.
I hid.

Have students discuss their fears and what they do when they are afraid. Then have them talk about what they feared as a child and how they dealt with their fears.

Have students read or write Darra's thoughts from the last words of the longest lines. Discuss how these thoughts help the reader to understand Darra's perspective better. Students can also complete a compare and contrast Venn diagram of Wren and Darra. Students can also discuss how their relationship changes throughout the verses.

Tomorrow’s tagline: A novel in verse about a painful truth

[We’re heading down the homestretch of National Poetry Month—still time to get your copy of the e-book, PoetryTagTime, an e-book with 30 poems, all connected, by 30 poets, downloadable at Amazon for your Kindle or Kindle app for your computer, iPad or phone for only 99 cents. Grab it now.]

Image credit: PoetryTagTime; Macmillan

Posting (not poem) by Sylvia M. Vardell and students © 2011. All rights reserved.

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