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Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word Paperback – March 19, 2013
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*Starred Review* As in previous titles, such as Snowy, Blowy Winter (2008) and Summer Wonders (2009), Raczka offers an accessible, playful poetry collection. This time, each selection is both a poem and a puzzle. As the whimsical subtitle states, every entry begins with a single-word title whose letters, when rearranged, make up the words in the following lines, as in “Bleachers”: “Ball / reaches / here / bases / clear / cheers.” Each poem appears twice: first, the letters, printed in an old-fashioned, typewriter font, are scattered individually across an open background, and readers must piece them together to make words. On the following page, the words are set in more traditional, easily read lines. “Pepperoni,” for example, begins with swirling, unconnected letters that resemble ingredients being sprinkled onto a pizza’s surface; on the next page, the letters are arranged in short lines: “One / pie / no / pepper / onion.” 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. Grades 2-5. --Gillian Engberg --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“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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Raczka credits Andrew Russ for his introduction to this one-word poetry form and explains how each letter appears beneath the letter of the original word. The overall effect is that of looking at a stuttering typewriter, or letters falling down like rain, forming words. There's a look to these poems almost like concrete poetry, with the careful typography proving that no additional letters have snuck in. It also means that each poem is a bit of a challenge - words and sentences aren't necessarily spaced in a traditional way. I think kids will love puzzling out what each poem says. Each poem is presented in its' original format, with a 2-color (red and black) line drawing on one page, followed by a page in red with white type, deciphering the poem in a more traditional way.
Here is one of my favorite poems in the book:
Simple, spare, effective and so true! I think this book would work well in classrooms, and I'd love to see the kind of one-word poems that this book will inspire. I highly recommend this amazing work.