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Let’s hope there are no garden gnomes lurking at Carol’s Corner. Carol is hosting Poetry Friday this week.

Happy Poetry Friday! The American Library Association is coming up next week. I’m looking forward to checking out fall trends in middle grade and, of course, what’s new in poetry.

I’ve had a blast during my debut author year spending time with fellow middle grade novelists. Today, I’d like to introduce Poetry Friday readers to Lee Gjertsen Malone and her contemporary novel, THE LAST BOY AT ST. EDITH’S.

Lee visited me in Maryland last weekend. We took a road trip to the inaugural Chesapeake Children’s Book Festival on the Eastern Shore. Lee is smart and so funny! That humor comes across in her debut middle grade novel.

THE LAST BOY AT ST. EDITH’S is about Jeremy. His single mother works at a private school in western Massachusetts, so he and his sisters attend on scholarship. The only problem is, St. Edith Academy’s is not exactly co-ed. Traditionally a girls’ school, the academy’s attempt to go co-ed has failed. Now Jeremy is the last boy standing in a sea of girls (as the book’s cover so perfectly illustrates). With his best-friend, a wannabe filmmaker named Claudia, Jeremy hatches a plan to get himself expelled. How? By organizing a series of epic pranks on the grounds of the school.

I gave myself the mission of finding a poem related to one of the pranks Jeremy stages. You won’t be disappointed. The poem appear at the end of this post.

THE LAST BOY AT ST. EDITH’S published in February. Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Seventh grader Jeremy Miner has a girl problem. Or, more accurately, a girls problem. Four hundred and seventy-five of them. That’s how many girls attend his school, St. Edith’s Academy. Jeremy is the only boy left after the school’s brief experiment in coeducation. And he needs to get out. His mom won’t let him transfer, so Jeremy takes matters into his own hands: He’s going to get expelled. Together with his best friend, Claudia, Jeremy unleashes a series of hilarious pranks in hopes that he’ll get kicked out with minimum damage to his permanent record. But when his stunts start to backfire, Jeremy has to decide whom he’s willing to knock down on his way out the door.

Recommended for fifth grade and up.

Who will like it?

  • Pranksters.
  • Kids who are dealing with shifting friendships as they make the transition from elementary to middle school.
  • Fans of science fiction humor (there are hilarious scenes with Jeremy and his crush acting in Claudia’s epically bad SF movie).

What will readers learn about?

  • An insider’s view of what it’s like to attend a private school.
  • Even funny pranks can have unforeseen consequences.
  • How it feels to be the only boy in a family, or a school, full of girls.

One of the first pranks that Jeremy and Claudia organize involves garden gnomes. It only took me a few moments of searching to find this gem on the website for Chuck Sambuchino’s book How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack:

Gnome Attack Poetry (by Wanna Newman)

I think that I shall never roam
In gardens where one finds a gnome

A hat that’s pointy, made of red
Creates in me a sense of dread

A gnome that tends to gross aggression
Can cause me trauma and depression

A gnome whose crabby, cross and piquey
Can really damage my physiquey

A gnome that travels with an ax
Instills the fear of sneak attacks…

Read the rest of the poem at How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack.

gnome

Don’t be fooled by that innocent face.


What else is on Laura’s Bookshelf?
SWORD AND VERSE, by Kathy MacMillan (5/22/16)
GENESIS GIRL, by Jennifer Bardsley (4/13/16)

TREASURE AT LURE LAKE, by Shari Schwarz (3/31/16)

THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB&J SOCIETY, by Janet Sumner Johnson (3/25/16)

THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE, by Heidi Heilig (3/10/16)

THE DISTANCE FROM A TO Z, by Natalie Blitt (1/19/16)

COUNTING THYME, by Melanie Conklin (12/31/15)

FENWAY AND HATTIE, by Victoria J. Coe (12/24/15)

THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF CHARLIE PRICE, by Jen Maschari (12/3/15)

PAPER WISHES, by Lois Sepahban (11/19/15)

THE GIRL WHO FELL, by S. M. Parker (11/5/15)

SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN, by Jeff Garvin (10/29/15)

SHALLOW GRAVES, by Kali Wallace (10/1/15)

MY SEVENTH GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS, by Brooks Benjamin (7/22/15)

16 responses to “Laura’s Bookshelf: The Last Boy at St. Edith’s”

  1. Sally Murphy says:

    This poem had me in stitches Laura. And thanks for the review of Last Boy Standing. I have been meaning to look this one up – must do so!

  2. Carol Wilcox says:

    Not sure why, but we have little tiny fairy gardens and glass gnomes springing up all over my neighborhood this year, so this gnome poem made me laugh. LAST BOY sounds like a great read, but I’m also very much looking forward to getting hold of a copy of your book!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thank, Carol. In my research, I found that many people have taken the traditional garden gnome and redesigned him to fit their (sometimes warped) senses of humor.

  3. Great poem, and the book sounds like a winner.

  4. Linda Baie says:

    Love the poem, and the idea of a boy lost in a sea of girls, wanting to escape by any means. The book sounds great, Laura. A few years ago our school had a gnome appear, and then all of a sudden, he was somewhere else, and then a new place. Everyone was on the lookout. It was hilarious. Will look for the book!

  5. Love the poem! So much fun, and perfect for the book.

  6. I love books in verse. This one sounds like a fantastic read. I am sad it is not at any libraries near me. Disappointed I can’t read the end of the poem. 🙁 I will keep an eye out for it though. Thanks.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      I need to clarify that THE LAST BOY AT ST. EDITH’S is not in verse. I’m doing a series where I pair books — prose and verse — with poems by a different author.

      If you click through the link I provided, you’ll find a website where the full poem appears.

  7. jama says:

    Funny poem. Needed a laugh today :). Thanks for the heads up about Lee’s book.

  8. The Last Boy at St. Edith’s sounds like a must-have for classroom libraries, and that poem is a riot. Thanks so much for sharing, Laura!

  9. This garden gnome poem is a chuckle.
    AND I love most school stories (not just yours…)

    Appreciations for this introduction to each of these.

  10. […] The Wiz Live cast recording — highly recommended. What else is on Laura’s Bookshelf? THE LAST BOY AT ST. EDITH’S, by Lee Gjertsen Malone (6/16/16) SWORD AND VERSE, by Kathy MacMillan (5/22/16) GENESIS GIRL, by […]

  11. […] Grade Books THE LAST BOY AT ST. EDITH’S, by Lee Gjertsen Malone (6/16/16) TREASURE AT LURE LAKE, by Shari Schwarz (3/31/16) THE LAST GREAT […]

  12. […] Grade Books THE LAST BOY AT ST. EDITH’S, by Lee Gjertsen Malone (6/16/16) TREASURE AT LURE LAKE, by Shari Schwarz (3/31/16) THE LAST GREAT […]

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Laura Shovan

Laura Shovan is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Her second book, Takedown, is a Junior Library Guild and PJ Our Way selection. Look for A Place at the Table, co-written with Saadia Faruqi, in 2020. Laura is a poet-in-the-schools Maryland.

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