cover image For Your Eyes Only!

For Your Eyes Only!

Joanne Rocklin. Scholastic, $14.95 (112pp) ISBN 978-0-590-67447-8

A whole new genre of books seems to have been born the day teachers started asking students to keep journals; the bland use of this journal format stamps Rocklin's (Sonia Begonia) novel with a formulaic feel. Here a substitute teacher, Mr. Moffat, inspires a sixth grade class with the poems he copies every Monday onto the chalkboard. Lucy, an eager student, fills her notebook with reactions to the poems, elliptically describes her crush on Mr. Moffat and shares her concerns about shifting friendships. In his notebook, Andy, an antisocial troublemaker, scribbles pictures of fighter planes, rarely putting down any words. Both students eventually reveal deep secrets, occasionally turning their journals into soap-opera-ish diaries (""Thursday, April 26: Someone is hurting my mother and me""). Mr. Moffat's poetry selections-superbly chosen works by Langston Hughes, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Octavio Paz and others-open each chapter and foreshadow plot developments. However moving the poems, the total effect is disjointed, and the overly neat and predictable resolutions of Lucy's and Andy's problems seem just as tired as the format. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)