The D- Poems of Jeremy Bloom by Gordon Korman and Bernice Korman, 1992.
This book is mostly a collection of funny poems, but there is an overarching story to them. Jeremy Bloom, a typical middle school slacker, wanted to sign up for the easiest elective course he possibly could. But, by accident, he overslept on the first day of school, and by the time he got there, sign-ups had already started and the easiest and most popular electives were full. Desperately trying to find something easy and with as little work possible under the remaining electives, Jeremy decided to sign up for Pottery. (“It was no Snooze Patrol, but how hard could it be to make ashtrays?”) Only, he made another mistake and accidentally signed up for Poetry, and once he was enrolled, there was no way out of it. He was committed to spending a year writing poetry.
Jeremy tries to make the best of things, but somehow (partly through his own fault and partly by accident), he continually manages to do things to annoy his poetry teacher, Ms. Terranova (or, as the kids call her, Ms. Pterodactyl, thanks to a mistake Jeremy made when he said her name on the first day of class). Every single poem Jeremy writes during the year receives the same grade: D-. The book is divided into different periods of Jeremy’s work, along with an explanation about what Jeremy did during each period to tick off his teacher. At the end, the reader can be the judge: Are Jeremy’s D- grades because he’s a terrible poet or because his teacher is mad at Jeremy for everything else he does during the year? (The answer is pretty obvious.)
My favorite poems are the longer ones like “Why I Was Late,” “The Wheeler-Dealer,” and “No Boring Parts Allowed.” Just to give you an idea of what the poems are like (although they are written in a variety of styles), here’s another one of my favorites, “Honesty Is Not Always the Best Policy.”