Technically, It's Not My Fault: Concrete Poems

( 3 )

Overview

An eleven-year-old boy named Robert voices typical—and not so typical—middle-grade concerns in this unique, memorable collection of hilarious poems. His musings cover the usual stuff, like pizza, homework, thank-you notes, and his annoying older sister. In addition, he speculates about professional wrestling for animals, wonders why no one makes scratch-and-sniff fart stickers, designs the ultimate roller coaster (complete with poisonous spiders), and deconstructs the origins of a new word, snarpy. A playful ...

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Overview

An eleven-year-old boy named Robert voices typical—and not so typical—middle-grade concerns in this unique, memorable collection of hilarious poems. His musings cover the usual stuff, like pizza, homework, thank-you notes, and his annoying older sister. In addition, he speculates about professional wrestling for animals, wonders why no one makes scratch-and-sniff fart stickers, designs the ultimate roller coaster (complete with poisonous spiders), and deconstructs the origins of a new word, snarpy. A playful layout and ingenious graphics extend the wry humor that is sure to resonate with readers of all ages.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Concrete poems for the upper elementary/middle school reader cover some usual and unusual subjects but always in a clever format. There's the boring circularity of "My Stupid Day," the gut-stirring "Spew Machine" that makes the reader queasy just turning the book to read the words, the delicious satisfaction of "Robert's Four At-Bats" which leads the reader triumphantly to Roger's trip around the base for the final "Cougars Win!" jubilation. There aren't many concrete poetry collections for this age group, and the computer generated illustrations, the varying type faces (all identified in back for would-be printing designers), and the black, white and red illustrations give this collection an edgy and compelling look with great boy appeal. Good fun with a few to chew on, as well. 2005, Clarion, Ages 9 to 14.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-Grandits combines technical brilliance and goofy good humor to provide an accessible, fun-filled collection of poems, dramatically brought to life through a brilliant book design. The eye-catching title selection, an account of a science experiment gone astray, appears on the front cover and its messy aftermath, a squashed tomato, winds up on the back. Simple drawings, varied typefaces, unusual arrangements of text, and different colors are used to call attention to the words. Grandits crafts an 11-year-old protagonist, Robert, whose perspective throughout is authentically adolescent. He is both immature and intelligent, and delights in all things gross as can be seen in such offerings as "The Autobiography of Murray the Fart," "Spew Machine," and "Sick Day." "TyrannosaurBus Rex" features a predatory cartoon school bus munching its way along its route: "More children. More sacrifices./Yum." This book doesn't reach the masterful collaboration of Paul B. Janeczko and Chris Raschka's A Poke in the I (Candlewick, 2001), but most readers will still love it.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Eleven-year-old Robert expresses himself-emphatically-through this series of concrete poems that emphasize visual over linguistic imagery. "My Stupid Day" appears as a circular recitation of an average school day arranged around a clock face; "Just Mow the Lawn" features graceful blades of grass formed by repetitions of "grass" on either side of a mown strip made up of vertical ouches. Robert emerges as the prototypical kids'-book kid: smart-mouthed, eternally at war with his sister, deeply in tune with the digestive process, and more interested in sports and video games than school. If he lacks individuality when stacked up against his literary peers, however, he makes up for this in typographical verve. Possibly the best piece is "Robert's Four At-Bats," in which the typeface flies, line-drives, grounds out bumpily, and then, in red, hits to right field where it is bobbled, allowing Robert to double and then to score around the infield diamond: "Cougars win!" An exuberant celebration of wordplay that's certain to broaden kids' understanding and appreciation of the possibilities of poetry. (Poetry. 9-13)
From the Publisher

"An exuberant celebration of wordplay that's certain to broaden kids' understanding and appreciation of the possibilities of poetry." KIRKUS Kirkus Reviews

"combines technical brilliance and goofy good humor to provide an accessible, fun-filled collection of poems...brilliant book design" Starred, SLJ School Library Journal, Starred

"graphically inventive sequence of concrete poems...mimes an 11-year-old's sarcastic perspective...A technically (and imaginatively) inspired typeface experiement." PW Publishers Weekly

"humorous...kid-relevant or kid-voiced...well-pitched to a youthful readership...playful layouts...a quick, funny, and painlessly poetic read." BCCB Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Youth will fall for this kind of word play, as will adults...smart, clever, and just plain fun." VOYA VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618503612
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/18/2004
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 358,062
  • Age range: 10 - 14 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 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2006

    Loved it!!

    Technically, it's not my fault is another book like Shel Silverstein's. If you liked his poems, you'll love these. The poems are not only funny, but the way they are presented visually is also a pleaser. Five stars!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2004

    This book is great!

    If you liked 'Where the sidewalk ends', you'll love 'Technically, It's Not My Fault'. The books is loaded with witty, funny, enjoyable poems from the minds of an ornery 11 year old boy. It's great fun, and at a price you can't pass up! Buy this book. You won't regret it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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