Readers may never look at concrete, or shaped, poetry in the same way again.
Of course the words on the pages convey the outline of objects and ideas in Raczka’s stunningly inventive new collection of “word paintings,” but so do letter arrangements and shapes in the poem’s titles. See, for example, “DIPPER,” set against a black two-page spread, with the second P in the title soaring aloft, cup-shaped, at the top of the page, while the shape of the poem itself resembles Ursa Major. The letters in the title “eracer” appear with a partially obliterated c, while the poem includes a pencil-shaped line whose eraser-tip “end” is about to wipe out a “misstake”! And so goes each delightful, child-friendly poem and creative title. Readers will enjoy turning the volume upside down and every which way to catch every word and nuance and won’t miss illustrations a bit. As Raczka points out, “In the poems…I’ve created pictures with words.” Youngsters will be inspired to put their own writing implements to paper voluntarily. Indeed, the author’s final effort is entitled “poeTRY.” Teachers might wish to challenge students to devise cleverly lettered titles, then exchange papers with partners who will follow through with themed poems.
Kids will want to wade deeply into this marvelous, winning mix-up. (Poetry. 8-12)