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Cool Melons-Turn to Frogs!: The Life and Poems of Issa
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Cool Melons-Turn to Frogs!: The Life and Poems of Issa

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  55 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
This biography of Japanese poet Issa introduces readers to over 30 of his best-loved haikus.
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 1st 1998 by Lee & Low Books (first published 1998)
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Magical picture book biography of a famous haiku writer in Japanese history. A boy from a middle class farmer is dedicated to his education and writing of haiku. When his mother dies and the father remarries, the mother forces the boy to care for the children she has by his father and bullies him to give up schooling and farm alongside his father. The father doesn't want the boy to give up his education and sends him away fearing that the stepmother might ruin the boy's chances at life. As he gr ...more
Gollub tells the life story of Japanese haiku poet Issa, with many of his haiku interspersed throughout the book.

The watercolor and colored pencil drawings range from inspiring to insipid. In general the colorful, delicate pictures of the Japanese countryside greatly appeal and enrich the poetry and the story of Issa's life, while the pictures of children come across as unrealistically quaint and idealistic. Most pages are formatted to contain a short paragraph about Issa's life, a single haiku,
Jul 26, 2009 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Amy Zook
Shelves: clcpl
Since I'm trying to learn about Haiku, this was the perfect book. Matthew Gollub translated poems of a renowned Japanese Haiku writer Issa. Gollub translates the Japanese but does not fall into the trap of trying to forge the English translations into the 5-7-5 syllables as often taught in elementary schools. (The syllable count works for Japanese - not English). Beautifully illustrated by Kazuko G. Stone. The end paper explains about the translation and about writing haiku in English. This is t ...more
Mrs Bond
Mar 12, 2009 Mrs Bond rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written and illustrated book about the popular Japanese Haiku poet Kobayashi Yataro, better known as Issa. The biographical information is complemented by several of his haiku. Within the text is an English translation; the Japanese calligraphy is painted along the side margins. Readers also receive glimpses of Japanese culture in the late 1700's/early 1800's. Appendix includes information about haiku.
This story is a biography about a haiku poet, Issa, combined with some of Issa's poetry. It has beautiful illustrations and the poetry within the book causes the reader to take a deeper look at the things in the world the way that Issa does.

I like how this book combines the poetry of Issa along with his life story. The illustrations are very pretty as well.
Becca Dunlap
A great story of a Japanese girl's life incorporated with poetry and dramatic colors. It will make children (and yourself) look at all living things a little bit differently.
Mar 11, 2011 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful and touching poems that tell the story of the poet.
Jul 14, 2012 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
So good--intro to haiku, biography, lovely art.
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