Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Little Crooked Bookshelf

Hi, Koo! A Year of Seasons
by Jon J. Muth

What it's all about . . .
A little panda bear, Koo, takes readers on a journey through the four seasons with twenty-six haikus.

Why it's on the Little Crooked Bookshelf . . .
April is National Poetry Month, so we're pulling our favorite poetry books for children off the shelf all month long. Along with the rest of the world, we're huge fans of Jon Muth's books--and his latest is no exception. We like that Muth takes liberties with form--occasionally breaking from the five-seven-five syllable structure--but not with the spirit of traditional Japanese Haiku, which focuses on the natural world and our relation to it. As Muth says in the Author's Note, "haiku is like an instant captured in words--using sensory images. At its best, a haiku embodies a moment of emotion that reminds us that our own human nature is not separate from all of nature." Muth also adds the fun layer of an alphabetical path through the book in the capitalized words of each haiku.

Our favorite lines. . .
sparkle in Puddles
shadows climbing trees

Quiet and still
long enough
for birds to make nests?

Our favorite illustration. . . 

Illustration Copyright 2014,  Jon J Muth; courtesy of Scholastic

Why kids will love it . . .
Kids just seem to be fascinated with haiku. Perhaps the short, simple nature of the form squares nicely with a child's view of the world. Perhaps its because they, too, can write lovely and creative haikus just by observing and putting moments down on paper. In Muth's collection, he displays both the elegance and the whimsy of the art form. Paired with the lovable panda, Koo, and Muth's dreamy delicate watercolors, the book is hard to resist.

Why grown-ups will love it . . .
Hi, Koo! is a lovely book to read to a child. Simple, quiet and satisfying. 

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