While reading the beautifully-written middle-grade novel in verse, THE CROSSOVER by Kwame Alexander (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014), I was struck with how well the writing demonstrates that “less is more.”
For example, notice how the main character, Josh, describes what’s happening to his father:
He sits up on the bed, holds
his chest like he’s pledging
allegiance. Only there’s no flag
Alexander does not over explain. Clearly and concisely, he conveys the fear of the moment. Readers understand that Josh’s dad is in trouble and Alexander used only 17 words to do so.
Less is more is especially evident when Alexander uses metaphoric language. For example:
Our seats are in the clouds,
and every time Dad thinks
the ref makes a bad call, he rains.
Alexander's skillful use of exact nouns and verbs prove less to be more. For example, in this passage, notice what imagery Alexander creates with just a few words:
The Red Rockets,
Defending county champions,
Are in the house tonight.
They brought their whole school.
This place is oozing crimson.
I found it difficult not to keep turning pages while reading Alexander’s slam-dunk of a novel and 2015 Newbery Medal recipient, for each word contained in THE CROSSOVER is full of more.
THE CROSSOVER blurb from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: “In this middle grade novel in verse that's Love That Dog meets The Watsons Go to Birmingham meets Slam, twelve-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health.” www.hmhco.com