Raczka B. (2011). Lemonade: And other poems squeezed from a single word. New York, NY: Roaring Book Press.
Summary: Raczka takes single words and turns them into poetry, some of which are riddles and puzzles. He takes poetry and turns it into a game. For example, Raczka will take the word lemonade and form a poem using only the letters from lemonade. Or from the word pepperoni: one pie / no pepper / no onion.
Impressions: Children, I believe would find this highly acclaimed poetry book fun. Afterall, it attempts to take a so-called boring subject and make it fun. As a child, I enjoyed puzzles like this and would sit for hours trying to solve them. When I read this book, all I could think of was a mind-numbing game of Boggle (how many words can I find) or the game of how many words can be formed from this one word. The book honestly was irritating for my 28-year old self (I have little patience anymore). I don’t have time for the weird spacing. I’m anal retentive and like things orderly and organized. It’s cute, clever, but for me, definitely not something I can get with.
Review: “Raczka credits Andrew Russ for inspiring him to try his hand at creating poems by rearranging the letters of a single word. The letters that make up each word in the 22 selections are placed directly under the matching letters of the original word, which is used as the poem’s title. The resulting odd spacing of letters and words adds an element of puzzlement to the deciphering of some words and requires a certain facility with the English language, along with the capability for recognizing words whose letters are placed horizontally, vertically or diagonally; backwards or forwards; separated by one space or six, or an entire line with no punctuation included. Each poem is printed on the verso of the following page with words in correct order. A clever, catchy, and challenging collection.”
Scheps, S. (2011, May). [Review of the book Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word, by B. Raczka]. School Library Journal, 57(5), p. 137.
Library Uses: I appreciate the value of the book and what it is trying to do and I can definitely see how it could be used to promote poetry awareness. During national poetry month, this book could be used to inspire kids to create similar poetry.