Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems

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Overview

A 15-year-old girl named Jessie voices typical—and not so typical—teenage concerns in this unique, hilarious collection of poems. Her musings about trying out new makeup and hairstyles, playing volleyball and cello, and dealing with her annoying younger brother are never boring or predictable. Who else do you know who designs her own clothes and writes poetry to her cat? Jessie’s a girl with strong opinions, and she isn’t shy about sharing them. Her funny, sarcastic take on high school life is revealed through ...

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Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems

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Overview

A 15-year-old girl named Jessie voices typical—and not so typical—teenage concerns in this unique, hilarious collection of poems. Her musings about trying out new makeup and hairstyles, playing volleyball and cello, and dealing with her annoying younger brother are never boring or predictable. Who else do you know who designs her own clothes and writes poetry to her cat? Jessie’s a girl with strong opinions, and she isn’t shy about sharing them. Her funny, sarcastic take on high school life is revealed through concrete poetry: words, ideas, type, and design that combine to make pictures and patterns. The poems are inventive, irreverent, irresistible, and full of surprises—just like Jessie—and the playful layout and ingenious graphics extend the wry humor.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Kelly Czarnecki
Filled with shape poems in objects such as guitars, cheerleaders, or even a bad-hair day, the author tries to paint a picture of teenage Jessie as a strongly opinioned girl, finding her way in the world. From "Mondrian," when Jessie and her dad go to the Art Institute, in the shape of a frame with words outside of the frame: "Dad said, 'It's not easy to be creative.' And I thought to myself, 'You wouldn't believe how creative I have to be just to get through the day.' He said, 'It's tough being an artist. You've got to struggle for years. People often misunderstand your work . . . And in many ways you're really alone.' And I said, 'It sounds like high school.'" Some poems genuinely sound like something a teenage girl would write. Others sound a bit forced and out of touch: "My new tattoo. It says, 'Sex, Drugs, & Rock 'n' Roll' in spiky goth letters." Some of the shape poems fit more than others as well, such as "Allergic to Time" in an hourglass shape. Others seem to require a lot of eye gymnastics, which is more effort than some readers might want to exert for not getting a whole lot back. Teens might be enticed to pick up the book with its cover in the shape of a mirror poem with a shimmery silver background, but they will likely be disappointed that the voice wavers between authentic and adult-speak throughout.
School Library Journal

Gr 5-9
Grandits crafts his collections with the needs of poetry-phobic readers in mind. It isn't even necessary to crack the book, since the first poem, "Blue Lipstick," is cleverly placed on the front cover, surrounding a reflective mirror. This selection introduces readers to Jessie, who impulsively purchases blue lipstick, but later, regretfully decides to give it "the kiss-off." Jessie is big sister to Robert, who was featured in Grandits's Technically, It's Not My Fault (Clarion, 2004). As he did in that terrific collection, the author uses artful arrangements of text on the page, along with 54 different typefaces, to bring his images and ideas to life. Jessie's a typical ninth grader who spends much of her time squabbling with her brother; doesn't always see eye-to-eye with her parents; and is preoccupied with clothes, makeup, and dealing with bad-hair days. She confides early on that life is simpler when you build a wall around yourself, as "You've got to be careful who you make friends with." Jessie writes poems to her cat, believes in guardian angels, and though she's quick to form strong opinions, she's smart enough to revise them, too. In the end, she's still got her wall, but she realizes "now I've got more company." This irreverent, witty collection should resonate with a wide audience.
—Marilyn TaniguchiCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
After suffering indignities at the pen of little brother Robert (Technically, It's Not My Fault, 2004), big sister Jessie gets her chance. In full adolescent voice, she talks of the disastrous day she dyed her hair blue, the misery of pep rallies, the futility of talking to grownups and the path of a secret. As in the previous volume, the poems are shaped by their subjects, so in "The Bowling Party," the reader gets a bird's-eye view of Jessie's shots-a gutter ball, a fader, a feeble dribble and a strike in the neighboring alley. In "Go Look in the Mirror!" the words appear in reverse against an oval of blue as Jessie contemplates her appearance before going out. "All My Important Thinking Gets Done in the Shower," possibly the best selection, features gentle streams of blue words emerging from a showerhead, each forming a sentence completely unrelated to the one next to it. Although Jessie's progress through the year is far from smooth, she learns a few things about friends, boyfriends and cheerleaders. Necessarily lacking the startling originality of its predecessor, this is nevertheless a playfully worthy companion. (Poetry. 10+)
From the Publisher
"This irreverent, witty collection should resonate with a wide audience." School Library Journal, Starred

"After suffering indignities at the pen of ... Robert (TECHNICALLY, IT'S NOT MY FAULT, 2004), big sister Jessie gets her chance." Kirkus Reviews

"A cover that'll grab adolescent girls' attention—and the poetry inside is equally appealing." Horn Book

"Friendly and accessible ... it will undoubtedly inspire a multitude of curricular uses." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618568604
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 5/21/2007
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 10 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.19 (d)

Meet the Author

John Grandits is an award-winning book and magazine designer and the author of "Beatrice Black Bear," a monthly cartoon for Click magazine. He lives in Red Bank, N.J., with his wife, Joanne, a children's librarian, and Gilbert, an evil cat. His first book of concrete poetry, Technically, It's Not My Fault, followed the adventures of a boy named Robert, who was often in conflict with his older sister, Jessie. Blue Lipstick gives Jessie a chance to tell her side of the story.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    NOT YET

    I haven't read this book yet I SOOOO WANNA! In English we read this boring book called Out of the dust with poems and this sounds sooo much better. also, in English we do all these kinds of poems so I NEED THIS BOOK!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 31, 2013

    Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems By John Grandits A Book Review by

    Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems
    By John Grandits
    A Book Review by Ginger Dawn Harman

    While waiting for our local library book club meeting to begin, I was completely distracted by my friend Linda. She was laughing hysterically, and immediately pulled me over toward her direction to look at Blue Lipstick by John Grandits. Instantaneously, we were both given, "the look" by the librarian for our laughing outburst. John Grandits has penned a fantastic collection of original poems written from the perspective of a 15-year-old girl named Jessie. Jessie shares her point of view of life, school, and family. The lack of poems for teens to appreciate is exactly what John Grandits targets his audience with in Blue Lipstick. However, many adults will be able to relate to the poetry collection especially if you have a teenager at home.

    The whimsical appeal of the art and twisting of the text invites the reader to become a participant of each poem. This is a brilliant idea that John Grandits has incorporated with his illustrations because the reader is actively involved. Moreover, as one reads you become more aware of the emotions and tone. For example the color choice in "Bad Hair day" exemplifies the internal and external conflict as Jessie's new hair color choice tests her relationship with Lisa. Furthermore, this poem demonstrates resolution with Lisa and the tender comforting wisdom from Jessie's mother.

    Personally I don't think it's fair to review each individual poem because poetry is something so intensely subjective that it just wouldn't do them justice. I didn't think any of the poems were bad in Blue Lipstick but I enjoyed some more than others. My favorites were, The Wall, Mondrian, Advanced English, and A Chart of My Emotional Day. The creativity of the author was impressive and one could easily finish this book in one afternoon. I was particularly impressed with the placement of the poems. This is what I feel made Blue Lipstick flow so easily and could be used within a classroom setting. I recommend Blue Lipstick by John Grandits.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2012

    Loved it

    I read the whole book in one night. It was good and all the poems were awesome with the layout. I would recomend this book to anyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 15, 2011

    Very nice book, kids loves it!

    Well my girl say she loves the book so to me that a good thing because she doesn't like a lot of thing in the past!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2008

    A reviewer

    loved it. we are learning about poetry in my english class and i read this book and it made poetry seem down right funner !! totally reccommend it (:

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2008

    Completely Enjoyable

    I have never had a chance to gather whimsical, love and strength in one form of prose. This poet captures same.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2014

    Amazing read!

    This collection of poems is amazing! I had to read it for summer hw and I am so happy I did. Now, my little sister is reading them and she loves them also! I reccomend this book to anyone who has not read it yet! Happy reading!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted November 10, 2009

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    Posted August 13, 2013

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    Posted August 9, 2009

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