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LEMONADE by Bob Raczka


And Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word

by Bob Raczka and illustrated by Nancy Doniger

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: March 15th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59643-541-4
Publisher: Roaring Brook

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)