Technically, It's Not My Fault: Concrete Poems
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Technically, It's Not My Fault: Concrete Poems

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  328 ratings  ·  72 reviews
An eleven-year-old boy named Robert voices typical—and not so typical—middle-grade concerns in this unique, memorable collection of hilarious poems. His musings cover the usual stuff, like pizza, homework, thank-you notes, and his annoying older sister. In addition, he speculates about professional wrestling for animals, wonders why no one makes scratch-and-sniff fart stic...more
Paperback, 48 pages
Published October 18th 2004 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published October 1st 2004)
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Sarah
This is a highly enjoyable, unique book of poems. Through humorous concrete poetry, the author allows us to see into the world of a fictional 11-year-old boy. Each poem poses a creative way of looking at a situation—especially according to an 11-year-old boy. My favorite has to be “The Autobiography of Murray the Fart.” Using only a drawing of the outline of a cylindrical shape (which can be interpreted as a can of soda) and the arrangement of the words, Mr. Grandits is able to convey the journe...more
Ch_13catherinecooper
Technically, It's Not my Fault is a fantastic book for middle and high school students (potentially some elementary students also). It provides a collection of poetry (some humorous, serious or informational) in a variety of formats. For example, a poem entitled, "My Stupid Day" the poem is written in a circle around the page in the shape of a clock--with the poem describing what the person does throughout the day. In another example, a poem entitled, "How We Ended Up With A Strange Pizza", the...more
Dora
Mar 12, 2013 Dora rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
Booklist calls this title "winning, highly creative collection" that also serves the purpose to "convince readers that poetry can be loud, outrageous, gross fun".

I couldn't agree more! "Technically, It's Not My Fault" is a collection of concrete poems from the perspective of a middle school student. Like most concrete poems, the poet uses the language and the placement of words to convey a message. In this case, John Grandits uses it to portray humor in the daily life of a growing adolescent. Th...more
Abby Johnson
This collection of concrete poems stars Robert, a seventh-grade boy, as he goes through his school day, plays basketball and baseball, smashes the car with a concrete block, farts, gets a present from his aunt, and much, much more.

Thumbs up. Cool poems that are unusual enough for kids to want to look at them and relevant enough for kids to identify with.
Jordon Worley
Technically, It's Not My Fault is a wonderful poetry book for children. These are some of the most creative poems I have ever read. The poems are written in a way that illustrates the text. For instance, in the poem "Skateboard," the text goes down as the skateboard goes down. The text also wraps around into a figure eight as the author describes the skateboard going around in a figure eight. I think that children would love reading this book of poetry because it shows that poetry does not have...more
Crystal
Wow what a fun little collection of poems! I almost like this- almost- as much Hate That Cat and Love That Dog, which are two very wonderful free verse poetry books.

The thing that I loved the most about this little book of poetry (and here you will see my education background start to pop out) is the fact that this book is interactive. You have to twist it and turn it around in order to read all the lines as the poetry literally flows around the pages. The content is funny and would be a great o...more
Chris
The concrete aspect is merely a bonus, as the words themselves convey excellent personality and voice. Each poem is a brief vignette from the life of eleven-year-old Robert, a peek inside his head. He's clever, sardonic, and snarky, someone who feels very real and familiar. His poems are expressions of his cleverness, sardonicism, and snarkiness.

Like the "TyrannosaurBus Rex," that:

Early in the morning, I spy
a group of small human children
standing on the corner of Elm and Spring.
I slam on my brak
...more
Meghan
The author uses several metaphors and similes in his poems while still being very simplistic in his writing. The “shape” of each poem helps readers to visually “see” what the poem does not say in words. The use of these together helps to create a better understanding of the poem’s meaning for younger or reluctant readers. The poems are written in free verse with some of them being only three lines long. The poems presented in this book are used to humor people and make them laugh. The author us...more
Courtney
This was my selection for my poetry book. This was a collection of concrete poems all about the life of a boy named Robert, who finds himself in so many stereotypical boy situations. There are poems not just about ituations but also about things he enjoys such as basketball. This was such an enjoyable and hilarious book. I think I laughed while reading every single one of the poems that were written in this book. My favorite poem was "The Thank You Letter",which included footnotes. I thought thi...more
Jenni
This was such a creative collection of poetry. The author uses words to create a picture as well as a poem. For instance, The Skateboard follows the up, down, and curves one would make while riding a skateboard. It forces you to move the book in all kinds of directions to read the text - incredibly clever! Also, the poems are quite funny in nature. A great find!
Kerri
3/15 - This looks cool because it is by the fictional little brother of the high school girl who "wrote" Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems. I loved that book but it was pretty much a high school read. This one might be good for middle schoolers since the main character is a middle schooler. We shall see...

3/21 - Finished it today and I was right! This is perfect for middle school and younger. My 10 year old laughed at a few of them (Autobiography of a Fart and the gravestone for the pet whose "insid...more
Mary Ann
Any book that has a poem called “The Autobiography of Murray the Fart” is going to make kids laugh and want to read more. These poems are all told from the point of view of Robert, an 11 year old boy who is clever but bored. “Technically, it’s not Robert’s fault that a concrete block fell on the car or that his sister’s homework got blown to smithereens. Really, he doesn’t try to cause trouble. He’s just an ordinary kid who likes pizza and sports and computer games.” Grandits creates visually en...more
Courtney Harden
1. Grandits, John Technically, It's Not My Fault: Concrete Poems


This is a Poetry book about the narrator's magnificent curiosity that can get him into a bit of trouble. It is a book that will keep the interest of students in 4-8 grades. They will be able to enjoy how they relate to the book. Along will that students will be learning about poetry and how it is and expression through writing. I can see this being used in the classroom with the During Reading strategy Rereading(Beers, pg. 110). Stu...more
West Region,
Middle School - Poetry

Technically, It’s Not My Fault
By John Grandits

Take a look at Robert’s crazy view of the world through a series of poems that are shaped into pictures and patterns.

Here Robert takes his new skateboard to the 7-Eleven parking lot; is kicked out, and goes to the park, is kicked out, and goes home, and is kicked out.

Robert also enjoys playing a little bball, dribbling up the court, making a lay-up, the ball going around and around and around the rim – Oh, no, Robert was robbed...more
Bridgit
Grade/interest level: Upper Elementary/Middle School
Reading level: not found
Genre: Poetry
Main Characters: n/a
Setting: n/a
POV: Robert

The main character Robert takes his readers into the daily life of a young boy who gets into mischief, is bored at school, and writes about the weirdness of his family--all through concrete poetry.

This is a fun and funny book of poetry that teaches students how creative poetry can be. This can be used during a poetry unit on freeverse poems. The content is acces...more
Wiola703
Even though I'm not finished with this book, I can already say its really good, I read the first book "Blue Lipstick" which is about a girl named Jessie struggling through her middle school years. Both books are written in "poem" form, The really cool thing is that it's written in all crazy ways, this book is short so be sure that you have an extra book in hand, becuase once you start reading this, you can't stop. It's like an addiction, a drug, haha nice comparison to a book huh? Well, anyways,...more
NicAlba
I loved it. Hilarious. Such great fun. It was like being a kid again :)
Susan
Robert, an 11 year old (fictional) boy who I may possibly be related to since he sounds an awful lot like one of my sons, writes this collection of concrete poems from the Thank-You Letter (very funny) and his thoughts on the Australian Cane Toad (hey, my kid did a whole report on those!), and important subjects like Octopus wrestling and the Autobiography of Murray the Fart (I kid you not). Boys will get over their Emily Dickensonian phobias when they realize poetry can embrace their inner Capt...more
Bethany
A school bus that eats children, the autobiography of a fart, an annotated thank you letter for a hideous sweater, and the best excuse for not mowing the lawn are just a few of the poems in this collection. Each concrete poem is told from the perspective of Robert, an 11-year-old boy who likes skateboards, video games, and tricking the class bully. The poems are funny, gross, goofy, sarcastic, and insightful--much like a pre-teen boy. Even readers who don't like poetry can get into these poems.
Kimberlee
This is a very creative collection of visual and literary poetry. Grandits has taken kids' poetry to a new level. Several of the poems featured Robert, and I have a son of the same name whose birthday is tomorrow, so it was fun to read this short book today and share it with him. There were several poems I liked more than others, including "The Tower", "The Autobiography of Murray the Fart" and "Bloodcurdling Screams". I'm not sure where I heard about this collection, but I'm glad I read it.
Kathryn
As an elementary school teacher, I have found that kids love to read and write poetry ... especially when it is in a unique form, and when it is hilariously funny. You don't get much more creative than concrete poetry! And the poems that are presented in this collection are funny! There is even a poem about a fart, which the boys, especially, thought was the end all be all of poetry. They couldn't wait to go back to their seats and try their own "gross" poems after that!
Brenda Engelhardt
I am not an artistic person - but I am visual. This book combines the art of word choice and organization into visual concepts. The themes were higher elementary and could also work for younger middle school aged children.

I felt that I was reading a poem and a puzzle at the same time.

This would be a terrific book to engage boys or non-poetry lovers in. In fact, I want to make this a mentor text for writing a concrete poem.
Kelly
Neat book of creative and humorous concrete poems--sort of like if Shel Silverstein were a graphic design major, only with less rhyming. My sixth grade students would have loved it. In many of the poems, you have to turn the book in order to follow the lines of poetry through twisting shapes. For an adult reader, though, I think it loses a bit of its charm. The autobiography of a fart just doesn't tickle my funnybone much anymore.
Michal
Quick, amusing, sometimes genius poems with an amusing perspective on everyday things.
Becky
Awesome, just wonderful! This was my first experience of concrete poems, at least a whole book of them and I loved it. I liked how the character of Robert was throughout the book. Also, this would be great for a middle school and possibly an intermediate class. It would just show them that poems can come in all different formats. It would be really interesting to see the kids do their own concrete poems.
Melanie
Robert's story is told in the form of concrete poetry: a type of poetry that is physically written in the form of the story. The poem "Robert's Four At-Bats" is a perfect example. The first line of the poem is written in a box, the shape of a baseball diamond. Each time Robert is up to bat, the line of poetry describing how that ball was hit is in the arc that particular ball took. Fabulous!!!
Brian
Although "Blue Lipstick" (a girls' version of this book) is much better, this book is still enjoyable and has fewer taboos. Thematically, while "Blue Lipstick" was more poignant, this book is more light-hearted and fun. I only found two taboos: (1) Robert talks about a boy showing off a pack of cigarettes, and (2) Robert uses fireworks in one poem.
Daleb.
Very interesting stories, poems, thoughts, etc. about/by/from a pre teen boys perspective!
I thought a few of these could have been written by my 13 yr old nephew Andrew.
Gross as it was i think my favorite one was the TyrannosaurBus Rex. And the "What are you thinking about Robert?" & "The thank-you letter w/footnotes" were hillarious also
xoDaleB.xo
Carrie Shaurette
Highly imaginative collection of concrete poems follows Robert through the thoughts and interests of an 11 year old boy, my favorite being a thank you letter complete with snarky footnotes. Predecessor to Blue Lipstick, which tells the story of Robert's sister through her own style of concrete poetry.
Lindsey
These are some great concrete poems. All of them can stand alone, but they are about a kid "Robert" so you end up getting a pretty nice picture of this eleven year old. They are all really funny. Poems about basketball, mowing the grass, baseball, farts, and even Rapunzel. A great collection that I want to own.
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