On the Edge with Coolhead Luke

Do you enjoy poetry? Then you should like this book. Mother and son team, in which author Jennifer White produced the poems and artist Colin White provided the illustrations, came out with Coolhead Luke and Other Stories in 2007. Cynthia Clarke said this about it on Home School Buzz.

“In the introduction the author, Jennifer White, explains that her son’s pictures ‘had a story to tell’ so she found the words and the book was born. That is an interesting inside-out way to write a book of poetry. Usually the artist must work to give visual life to the author’s words but in this case the author lived with the drawings and waited for them to give verbal life to the pages. The result is a book of light-hearted imaginative stories that sound very much like they could have come from the drawings they belong to.”

I was asked to review the sequel, On the Edge with Coolhead Luke.

While poetry is not my particular area of interest, I do find that good, classic poetry is fascinating, and this book was fun to read. Some of the poems encourage the development of good character. Coolhead Luke’s bravery when confronted by a cobra teaches us to face our fears and overcome them. Many of the poems can be used to teach language. I especially liked the one about the four daughters of Bob and Jane Metta and what was learned by the “Metta Four.” And a lot of the poems are just plain humor that go along with Colin’s drawings, of which Jennifer said, “Now a student in middle school, Colin has grown a couple of years older and his illustrations have become reflective of the social and moral challenges of pre-teens and young teenagers. What has remained unchanged is the surreal silliness that younger and older children both enjoy.” To help in presenting the mechanics of poetry, there are both a glossary of terms and a guide for teachers and homeschooling parents in the back of the book, which I think most people should find both interesting and useful.

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