I Haiku You by Betsy Snyder
This diminutive book is filled with equally small haiku poetry. Each poem is a celebration of either love for someone else or a warm moment in time. There are poems about warm soup, purple popsicles and lemonade. Each one is a tiny look into a universal and noteworthy moment. Turning from one page to the next, the book manages to avoid being overly sweet through its humor and the sense of joy that pervades it. In other words, these are far more organic and natural poems than Hallmark ever manages to create. Instead these are wonderful little gifts of haiku that are invitations to celebrate the small moments of life that we share with one another.
Snyder has created illustrations that are equally warm and special. Done on cream paper, the illustrations have pops of purples, oranges, reds and yellows but still have a softness. The result is a book that is cheery and warm.
A perfect Valentine’s Day gift, this book should also be useful as an introduction to the haiku format. Or one could just curl up at bedtime and share some short and lovely poetry. What better way to create beautiful dreams? Appropriate for ages 4-7.
Reviewed from copy received from Random House.
Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin
This picture book is told in a series of haiku poems. The poems form the only text in the book, charmingly telling the tale of Won Ton, a cat saved from the animal shelter by a boy and his family. Once rescued, Won Ton demonstrates that he is pure cat. His aloof yet cozy manner is captured to perfection here in the poems. The book is in turns touching, beautiful, wistful and very funny.
Wardlaw’s haiku read as if they were effortlessly written. In a few words and syllables, he captures the life of a cat and the humor of life. It is a book that celebrates poetry, making it approachable and understandable for children. At the same time, he speaks to the power and connection in animal adoption.
Yelchin has illustrated the book with a playful flair. The graphite and gouache illustrations are bright and large, making them well suited to sharing with a group. Anyone with a cat in their lives will recognize the poses, the reactions and the attitude that Won Ton displays.
A perfect book to share in a poetry unit, this book is appropriate for ages 5-8.
Reviewed from copy received from Henry Holt and Company.
Also reviewed by Fuse #8 and Wild Geese Guides.