Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word

Overview

Play with your words! A brand new poetic form that turns word puzzles into poetry.

 

Part anagram, part rebus, part riddle—these poems capture a scene from a child's daily life and present a puzzle to solve. Sometimes sweet and sometimes funny, but always clever, these poems are fun to read and even more fun for kids to write. Bob Raczka is a fresh, new voice in children's poetry who knows that fun and games can turn a poetry lesson into ...

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Overview

Play with your words! A brand new poetic form that turns word puzzles into poetry.

 

Part anagram, part rebus, part riddle—these poems capture a scene from a child's daily life and present a puzzle to solve. Sometimes sweet and sometimes funny, but always clever, these poems are fun to read and even more fun for kids to write. Bob Raczka is a fresh, new voice in children's poetry who knows that fun and games can turn a poetry lesson into lemonade!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Inspired by the concrete poetry of Andrew Russ (aka endwar), Raczka's poems are all produced from the letters in single words, magnifying and playing on their meanings. "Vacation" is transformed into "action/ in/ a/ van," and the letters from "snowflakes" trickle down lazily as though from the sky. Several words result in more imaginative compositions: from "constellation" come the lines, "a/ silent/ lion/ tells/ an/ ancient/ tale." Some selections feel slight, but there's a subtle humor and power at work in many ("friend" reads simply "fred/ finds/ ed"), and readers may be spurred to construct their own. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Ellen Welty
Word games masquerading as poems—what a fun idea! As in his previous poetry collections, Raczka has championed playfulness in this intriguing group of poem puzzles. These poems are created by rearranging the letters in a single word to form other words and then using those words to create the poem. Raczka credits poet Andrew Russ as his inspiration for trying this form of poetry. Each poem appears first as a scattering of the letters across a plain background, forcing readers to piece the letters together to form words. The resulting poem then appears on the facing page written as a traditional poem so that readers can see if they succeeded in putting the letters together as the poet intended. The word puzzles are challenging because the letters are placed under the same letter in the original word, so the newly formed words might need to be read diagonally or backwards in order to get the right order. The poems are catchy, brief, and clever. The exercise will be equally enjoyable for middle school readers or older readers. It would be a good addition to classroom or library collections of poetry or language books. Reviewer: Ellen Welty
School Library Journal
Gr 3–8—Raczka credits Andrew Russ for inspiring him to try his hand at creating poems by rearranging the letters of a single word. The letters that make up each word in the 22 selections are placed directly under the matching letters of the original word, which is used as the poem's title. The resulting odd spacing of letters and words adds an element of puzzlement to the deciphering of some words and requires a certain facility with the English language, along with the capability for recognizing words whose letters are placed horizontally, vertically or diagonally; backwards or forwards; separated by one space or six, or an entire line with no punctuation included. Each poem is printed on the verso of the following page with words in correct order. A clever, catchy, and challenging collection.—Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Kirkus Reviews - Kikus Reviews

Fresh off his engaging Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys(illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, 2010) and inspired by the work of Andrew Russ, Raczka continues to dabble in short lyric forms, here experimenting with images conjured up by breaking down a single word. The smaller components that comprise the subsequent free-verse poem read left to right, cascading down the page while maintaining the same horizontal letter positions as in the original word. For example, "vacation" yields "ac tion / i n / a / va n," alongside Doniger's spare three-color drawing of a family and a rabbit traveling through the countryside in a van with a canoe on the roof. For readers who find the spatiality of the lettering a challenge for comprehension, Raczka sets the poem in more standard format, "vacation / action / in / a / van," on the following page. While these 22 poems are uniformly clever, some, like "earthworms"—"a / short / storm / worms / here / worms / there / wear / shoes"—are more successful than others, such as "flowers"—"we slow / for / free / wows"—both in their playfulness and in evoking the suggestive depths of language. Fun as a prompt for poetic exploration but less fulfilling as a stand-alone volume.(Poetry. 8-12)

Kirkus Reviews

Fresh off his engaging Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys(illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, 2010) and inspired by the work of Andrew Russ, Raczka continues to dabble in short lyric forms, here experimenting with images conjured up by breaking down a single word. The smaller components that comprise the subsequent free-verse poem read left to right, cascading down the page while maintaining the same horizontal letter positions as in the original word. For example, "vacation" yields "ac tion / i n / a / va n," alongside Doniger's spare three-color drawing of a family and a rabbit traveling through the countryside in a van with a canoe on the roof. For readers who find the spatiality of the lettering a challenge for comprehension, Raczka sets the poem in more standard format, "vacation / action / in / a / van," on the following page. While these 22 poems are uniformly clever, some, like "earthworms"—"a / short / storm / worms / here / worms / there / wear / shoes"—are more successful than others, such as "flowers"—"we slow / for / free / wows"—both in their playfulness and in evoking the suggestive depths of language. Fun as a prompt for poetic exploration but less fulfilling as a stand-alone volume.(Poetry. 8-12)

From the Publisher

“Doniger’s spare illustrations add quirky appeal without distracting from the inventive formations of type. More than just clever gimmicks, the poems leave room for moving lines with a depth that invites imaginative wandering: ‘A / silent / lion / tells / an ancient / tale,’ reads ‘Constellation.’ Sure to have wide classroom appeal.” —Starred, Booklist

“Readers of all ages will get a kick out of Bob Raczka’s clever Lemonade . . . . This book will appeal to both poetry and puzzle lovers, no doubt motivating them to choose their own words and write some poems.” –BookPage.com

“A clever, catchy, and challenging collection.” School Library Journal

“The lemonade here is cool and refreshing, and it makes you want to do some squeezing yourself in this playground where poet meets Scrabble nerd.” –Horn Book

“Fun as a prompt for poetic exploration.” –Kirkus Reviews

“This will be a natural as an inspiration for language arts assignments that appeal both to the wordily creative and the code-loving.” –Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Raczka's poems are all produced from the letters in single words, magnifying and playing on their meanings . . . . there's a subtle humor and power at work in many ("friend" reads simply "fred/ finds/ ed"), and readers may be spurred to construct their own.” –Publishers Weekly

"Raczka’s Lemonade and other poems squeezed from one word  will really kick the language arts curriculum up a notch.  His poems turn traditional ideas of poetry upside down with word puzzles and word play.  Each poem is like a mini-brainstorming session of new words and new ideas.  It’s a given that students will love creating their own one word poems about topics that they enjoy.  Anyone who likes Wheel of Fortune, Hangman, or any sort of word game is going to adore this book." - Sally Walker, Anderson's Bookshop

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596435414
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2011
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 645,928
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: NPL (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Bob Raczka has written many books about art and art history for children. He lives in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

 

Nancy Doniger has illustrated several books for children and done editorial illustration for the New York Times and other publications. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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