Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word

Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word

Bob Raczka
Illustrator:  Nancy Doniger 
For ages 8 to 12
Roaring Brook Press, 2011   ISBN: 978-1596435414

Our lives as so full of words that we tend to take them for granted. We read the word “moonlight” and never imagine that the letters in this word can be mixed up in many different words to create not just new words, but also poetry. For this very clever and creative collection of poems, Bob Raczka has selected twenty-two words, and for each one he jumbles up the letters to create a poem. He pulls meaning and images out of each word, telling a story, or creating a picture that is funny or meaningful.

Some of the words, like “snowflakes,” “flowers,” and “spring,” conjure up images that are beautiful, While others, like “chocolate,” “television” and “bicycles,” are more mundane and everyday

In “Moonlight,” the jumbled up words flutter down the page to tell us about a “hot night” where the “thin light” illuminates a “moth in motion.” The images are silvery and soft. By contrast, in “Earthworms,” the words seem to wiggle around, telling us about what happens when worms come out of the ground after a storm. The poem ends abruptly after we are told to “wear shoes.” It is hard not to smile as one reads these words.

Young readers who explore how these unique poems work will be intrigued to see how one word can say so much if one is creative enough. They might even be tempted to try their own poems that are “squeezed from a single word.”