Brains for Lunch : A Zombie Novel in Haiku?!
by K.A. Holt; illustrated by Gahan Wilson
It’s no surprise that this book would appeal to me. After all, I love haiku and have read plenty of zombie novels. Put them together and it’s sure to be something special, right? Yeah, it actually is.
Brains for Lunch is a brief novel written in haiku for readers in middle school. Of course, you don’t have to be in middle school to enjoy this short romp through an average day at a de-zombification school. De-zombification refers to how the school has Zombies, Lifers (humans), and Chupos (chupocabras) all attending the same school. As you might imagine, this diverse mix of students is often at each other’s necks.
Loeb is a Zombie with big dreams. He wants to impress the Lifer librarian he has a crush on and decides to compete in an open mike poetry slam. Can he do it? Do Zombies have the brains to write poetry? (Other than the brains they eat, of course!) You’ll be surprised at what Loeb is capable of. Along the way, he gets in fights and falls in love.
A haiku is composed of three lines of text with five-seven-five syllables per line. The poem does not usually rhyme.
I thought this book was great. It was a novel way to introuce a traditionally uncool topic (poetry) to middle school students, especially boys. The haiku all felt fresh and unforced. I especially like the ones Loeb “wrote” for the contest. The haiku did not stop the narrative from flowing. It was obvious what the action was, and the plot moved forward quickly.
There was plenty of white space on the page, and charming line drawings by Gahan Wilson throughout the book. The pictures helped illustrate some of the haiku that required a bit more explanation.
I think this story would appeal to boys and girls since it has zombies, gore, gross out rhymes, and romance.