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Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems Hardcover – March 8, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—At the start of this collection, Raczka notes that he likes to think of poems as "word paintings," and he demonstrates this philosophy to marvelous effect. In each of his 21 concrete poems, he groups the words in a shape that complements or emphasizes the meaning or central concept. Raczka goes even further, playfully arranging the letters in the one-word titles of his poems as well. Even the table of contents is constructed to resemble a table. The result is a fun and clever collection that is sure to inspire young poets. While short, the poems are by turns amusing and thoughtful and make excellent use of figurative language devices. A selection about the Big Dipper includes a metaphor that describes the constellation as "a vessel of stars, my brim overflowing with night." Another offering depicts a thunderstorm as "a cloud tantrum." A few layouts may test some readers, such as one about a home run in which one whole line is printed backward, but most students will enjoy the challenge. VERDICT This winning assortment should find a place in most libraries.—Lauren Strohecker, McKinley Elementary School, Abington School District, PA
A 2016 NCTE Notable Poetry Book
"Kids will want to wade deeply into this marvelous, winning mix-up." -Kirkus, starred review
"This is arguably Raczka's best poetry work to date." -Publishers Weekly, starred review
"This winning assortment should find a place in most libraries" -School Library Journal, starred review
"Graphic design meets riddle meets visual wordplay in this collection of sturdy and joyful perspectives on the ordinary stuff of the world."-The Horn Book, starred review
"When this title is paired with Raczka's other collection, Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word, even the poetry-resistant kids are bound to discover something to delight them. " -BCCB, starred review
"Aspiring wordsmiths should find plenty of inspiration here." -Booklist
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Pros: These poems make fun use of wordplay. Kids will enjoy reading them and maybe even trying their own.
Cons: You’ll need to be able to read backwards and upside down for some of the poems.