Cover image for A poke in the I : a collection of concrete poems
A poke in the I : a collection of concrete poems
Janeczko, Paul B.
First edition.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
35 pages : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Reading Level:
NP Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC K-2 5.1 2 Quiz: 24948 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library PS593.C63 C66 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area
Central Library PS593.C63 C66 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Clarence Library PS593.C63 C66 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Orchard Park Library PS593.C63 C66 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Williamsville Library PS593.C63 C66 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Audubon Library PS593.C63 C66 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Even kids who don't know they like poetry will love this playful, visually accessible collection of thirty concrete poems--illustrated by a Caldecott Honor artist! Concrete poems startle and delight the eye and mind. The size and arrangement of words--or even just letters on the page can add or alter meaning, and poems can take the shape of crows and fly off the page. Or become a balloon filled with rhyme drifting away from outstretched hands. Or fourteen exuberant lines can become "Joy Sonnet in a Random Universe." Here in a single extraordinary volume are thirty poems from some of the world's finest visual poets, including John Hollander, Emmett Williams, Maureen W. Armour, and Douglas Florian--a spirited "poke in the I" brought to you by the very talented Paul B. Janeczko and Chris Raschka.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-8. Concrete poetry is as much pictures as words. The fun is in how the letters look, the shapes they make that may extend or subvert what they mean. As Janeczko says, the typeface, the arrangement of the letters, the shape of the verse, the use of white space, all are part of the poem. A poem about a pigeon plays with the horizontal and the vertical as "pigeon on the roof" dives down the page in monosyllabic lines and then "opens wings" / softly gently / down." The verse in "Popsicle" is on a stick, and the words sound "tickle tongue fun." The words in "Tennis Anyone" are on the far sides of a double-page spread, so readers have to turn their head to read, as if they were watching a game. Raschka's illustrations, in watercolors and torn-paper collage, are playful and beautiful, some of the best he's ever done. Never overwhelming, they leave lots of space for the reader to see the shapes the words make on the page. To the mixed-up letters in "merging traffic," he adds a ridiculous, overbearing policeman on one side. These are poems to read aloud, to look at and laugh at together, with young children and especially with older readers, who will enjoy the surprise of what can be done with words. --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

On this book's cover, a winking man nudges a letter "I" with his umbrella. This multilayered image, with its homonym and visual game, provides a stimulating introduction to 30 concrete poems by various authors. Throughout the volume, crisp black words on spotless backgrounds do double-duty as concepts and physical objects. Raschka (Waffle, reviewed below) works in tandem with each poem's design; for example, he fashions the palindrome "eyeleveleye" as a bar across three faces, with each pair of "E's" standing for eyes, and the giddy eat-it-before-it-melts "Popsicle" presents a block of words atop vertical letters spelling "sticky," as a nearby ice cream vendor gazes out from the page. Other poems contradict top-to-bottom reading conventions. The phrases of "Sky Day Dream" ("Once I saw/ some crows/ fly off...") ascend the page, diminishing in size as though growing distant. For the spread "Tennis Anyone?" words and artwork suggest a tennis court with the gutter as the net, so that readers glance from side to side as though watching a volley. Janeczko (Very Best [almost] Friends) selects economical works that allow plenty of space for reflection. "Whee" offers a slope of six single-syllable words ("Packed snow steep hill fast sled") and a scattered group of rag-doll figures; another piece simply joins "merging" to "traffic." Raschka's restrained collages of calligraphic watercolor lines and torn paper leave most everything to the shaped poems. He and Janeczko provide an uncluttered, meditative space for the picturesque language. All ages. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-Starting with a contents page shaped like a table, clever design and illustration bring out the best in Janeczko's selections. Thirty concrete poems of all shapes and sizes are carefully laid on large white spreads, extended by Raschka's quirky watercolor and paper-collage illustrations. Some of the poems bend or turn or fall down the page, some are shaped like an object. Some evoke a sound or an emotion or a landscape. Kids with a taste for the unusual and tricky will have no end of fun with these puzzlers. The effectiveness of the poems is clear when you consider that the one in German needs no translation. Reinhard Dhl's "Pattern Poem with an Elusive Intruder" is a rounded block of text consisting of the word "Apfel" repeated over and over, except in one place, where there's a "Wurm." Janeczko's brief "Notes from the Editor" (laid out in radiating lines like music blasting from a saxophone) serves as a quick introduction to concrete poems, but kids will have little trouble figuring out what they are all about, or trying out their own. Beautiful and playful, this title should find use in storytimes, in the classroom, and just for pleasure anywhere.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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