48 p. Clarion Books/ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October, 2004.
It was love at first sight when I found this gem back in 2004. My students fell in love with concrete poetry with A Poke in the I, but this one brought out delighted giggles and did every year I trotted it out during the month of April. It's a bit difficult to share with a class as a read aloud, but possible if you take your time and share the pages up close. If you're lucky enough to have a document camera, all the better.
Where A Poke in the I presents a selection of concrete poems and poets, Technically, It's Not My Fault presents eleven-year-old Robert in all his messy, eleven-year-old glory. Even now, rereading it after countless read aloud sessions, I still laugh out loud at most of them. Whatever Robert is doing is hysterically fascinating from his scientific research involving a concrete block through his footnoted thank you note to Aunt Hildegard. Readers will enjoy sifting through the contents of his empty head and reading the irreverent epithets on the headstones in his backyard pet cemetery. Honestly, there's something to love about each of the twenty-nine poems, although you may want to preface your read aloud with, "Don't try this at home, kids." Then, you might invite your students to try writing about the most humorous thing they've ever done in a concrete poem.