Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word

Image of Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word
Release Date: 
March 14, 2011
Roaring Brook Press
Reviewed by: 

Lemonade Lemonade is a literary explosion of free verse puzzle poetry and a visual feast of witty words and phrases. Author Bob Raczka chooses one word and then goes on to write a few lines from just the letters in that one word, for example:

ac tion
i n
v a n

As you can see, this one says “action in a van.” The extremely simple yet sophisticated style of Lemonade Lemonade can be appreciated by both young and old audiences, and at first it may seem difficult to read, but after closer observation, we see that the author has conveniently placed each letter under the spot it has in the word [imperfectly rendered here].

This book could only be described as short and sweet; it accomplishes the idea of getting a creative message across using only a few simple words and ingenious phrases. Also, this book is perfect for teaching children how to think outside of the box, showing that being creative isn’t hard, and that playing with your words can be very fun!

Unfortunately, illustrator Nancy Doniger takes away from the free and fun personality of Lemonade Lemonade, using too many dark lines and edges to try to make an artistic impression, resulting in conflicting vibes. The illustrator’s pictures end up making the impression of an unfinished pencil sketch, leaving the reader wondering where the bright and cheery mood of the book went as the black and gray drawings set into the page.

Lemonade Lemonade was quite an artistic book; creating such beauty with a single word is very risky, but author Bob Raczka hit the nail on the head. The unadulterated uniqueness of his writing is gorgeous; I just wish the illustrations could have added and not subtracted from the success of Lemonade Lemonade.