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Brains For Lunch: A Zombie Novel in Haiku?! Hardcover – August 17, 2010


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 9
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; 1 edition (August 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596436298
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596436299
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,412,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-8–Middle school is hard enough for the living, but for Loeb it's especially dreadful. He is a thoughtful zombie whose classmates are fellow zombies, Lifers (regular humans), and blood-sucking creatures known as Chupos. His school is a boiling pot of rivalries and segregations. Things get interesting for Loeb when the librarian (a Lifer) encourages him to read some of his haiku at open-poetry night. Subplots include a Lifer who is romantically interested in Loeb and tensions within the different groups that mount when one being mingles with another. The novel is told through a series of haiku, a form that is comically ideal for zombie dialogue. While the book appears to be an easy read, this poetic form will appeal to skilled readers who are comfortable navigating this narrative technique. The novel jumps right into the story, and readers are required to interpret the characters, setting, and situations quickly; the poetic form does not allow for detailed character and plot development and it is sometimes difficult to discern which character is speaking. Holt employs gross-out humor that will appeal to her audience: the zombies' bodies are constantly falling apart and the novel begins, appropriately, with a haiku about eating brains, “Brains for lunch again/‘Stop moaning and just eat it.'/Lunch lady humor.” Wilson's pen-and-ink illustrations complement the text and zombies are shown as creatures surrounded by flies, swarming with worms, and constantly struggling to keep their bodies intact. This intriguing book definitely has an audience–one that appreciates, quite literally, tongue-in-cheek humor.Shawn Brommer, South Central Library System, Madison, WI
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

How many stories feature a middle school with a student body composed of zombies, monsters, and regular kids, and how often are such stories told through a series of nearly 100 haiku poems? Loeb, a zombie, is the main character, and he manages to win a poetry competition, develop a crush on the school librarian, and wind up with a regular-kid girlfriend, all despite his taste for human brains. Teachers preparing to introduce their classes to haiku are bound to welcome this outrageous effort. Let's face it: many kids encountering haiku for the first time aren't enthralled by descriptions of water droplets on lotus flowers, but lines such as “Ivy tendrils fall / Dark loops splayed across my arm / Hair, not intestines” may pique their interest. Adding loads of zing are the drawings by cartoonist Wilson, the perfect illustrator for a story featuring zombies. A funny, irreverent, and unconventional verse offering that's sure to find wide curricular appeal. Grades 5-8. --Todd Morning

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jen McConnel on November 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Last month, I met K.A. Holt at the Highlight's Foundation Novels in Verse workshop. She's a great lady with a sharp sense of humor and a quirky personality, and that shines through in her zombie novel-in-verse Brains for Lunch.

Told in Haiku, this is the short, sassy story of Loeb, a depressed zombie at an integrated school. He deals with the scorn of the Lifers every day, not to mention his sometimes disgusting zombie peers. But a pretty girl and a librarian might be just the ones to break Loeb out of his undead shell!

Fans of poetry, young and old, will adore this book. Holt's use of Haiku is unique and ideal: I'm convinced that zombies really would speak 5-7-5.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By RLQ on September 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
My son and I thought this book was extremely funny, in a gross laugh out loud way. Love the book!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mary A. Turzillo on December 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I tried to like this book; the concept is certainly original, a high school where zombies coexist with the living. These zombies are stand-ins for any minority, and that's to be commended -- I guess.

But the book has two problems. One, the story doesn't make any sense, even as a parable of tolerance for minorities. Zombies as we know them are devoid of functional central nervous systems, incapable of thinking and loving, and more to the point, they are rotting corpses, not really suitable for taking to the prom or bringing home to the parents. I suppose it's clever to assume that they can hold their own in a poetry class, and I guess this is where the tolerance for minorities theme is supposed to come in.

My other problem is more serious. Haiku are a special literary form. There are no real haiku in this book. Instead, the author has arranged sentences in rigid 5-7-5 syllable paragraphs, lacking any of the poetic qualities of haiku. A few of these pseudo-ku might aspire to be senryu. Okay, perhaps the author knows that -- I sure hope she does -- and is just dressing up an improbable tale by putting it in a form she calls haiku. But won't thousands of innocent readers be fooled and not realize what real haiku are? Will the world be inundated with millions of random 5-7-5 word salads by misled teens?

Gahan Wilson does a great job of illustrating the book, making the zombie protagonist turn into a real boy at the end. That's a plus. With an artist like Wilson, you can never go wrong. But I'd try his graphic novel Nuts Nuts instead of this -- Nuts really does explore the world of youth and being different.
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More About the Author

When she is not trying to invent a time machine, K.A. Holt enjoys dusting her giant telescope, reading about zombies, and eating homegrown tomatoes.

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Brains For Lunch: A Zombie Novel in Haiku?!
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