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Hi, Koo!

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,677 Ratings  ·  351 Reviews
Caldecott Honoree and NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author/artist Jon J Muth takes a fresh and exciting new look at the four seasons!

Eating warm cookies
on a cold day
is easy

water catches
every thrown stone
skip skip splash

With a featherlight touch and disarming charm, Jon J Muth--and his delightful little panda bear, Koo--challenge readers to stretch their minds and imaginations
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published February 25th 2014 by Scholastic Press
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2015 Mock Caldecott
15th out of 79 books — 242 voters
Hi, Koo! by Jon J. MuthDear Panda by Miriam LatimerZen Shorts by Jon J. MuthMrs. Harkness and the Panda by Alicia PotterXander's Panda Party by Linda Sue Park
Picture Books With Pandas
1st out of 46 books — 8 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Feb 06, 2014 Betsy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I have a colleague who is mighty careful when it comes to haiku. She’s Japanese-American herself, and one thing she simply cannot stand is when someone takes a set of words, slaps them into five/seven/five syllable lines, and then calls the result “a haiku”. Traditional haiku focuses on nature and how we, as humans, relate to it. So what happens when 5/7/5 gets taken out of the equation entirely? Author/illustrator Jon J. Muth is no stranger to children’s picture books that challenge the reader. ...more
Nov 25, 2014 Will rated it it was ok
Shelves: kids

Hi, Koo! (geddit?) is a highly-acclaimed picture book, but the somewhat fey Author’s Note makes it clear it’s not for kids, but adults who fancy they could interest a child in a classic art form.

My 4-year-old granddaughter is the inhaler par excellence of all books. "Read me a story!" is heard more often than “I’m hungry!”, so I did give this one a go. Now reading a bunch of disconnected haikus does require a bit of inventiveness to make them come alive:
King! /my crown a gift / from a snowy bra
Mar 26, 2014 Laura rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books

Jon J Muth is the one and only auto-buy picture book author in my reading world. His Zen Shorts is one of my all-time favorites. All it took was one look from across the room at the colors, flowers and panda on the cover to know and whisper, “THAT is a new Muth book.” Haha…Ran right to it, scooped it up, and made a beeline to the register without even a peek inside. I wanted to be home, curled up in my favorite reading spot to experience Muth’s magic.

sparkle in Puddles
shadows climbin
Feb 23, 2014 Linda rated it it was ok
The art was pretty but the rest of the book left me cold and I really can't see a child enjoying this without lots of help and explanation from an adult. This to me negates what a good picture books is supposed to do,IMO!
This is okay, I guess.

A panda and some children live through a year with four seasons.

Each page is a haiku. But not really, because Muth has decided that he doesn't have to adhere to the 5-7-5 rule.

I didn't really like it.

killing a bug
feeling alone and Sad


Friend, is that you
knocking at the door?

Come on. o.O

too much TV this winter
my eyes are square
let's go Out and play

Sigh. Spare me the preaching, please.

Some are enjoyable:

Dance through cold rain
then go home
to hot soup


James Swenson
Apr 24, 2014 James Swenson rated it liked it
A children's alphabet book of haiku through the seasons, with lovely illustrations.

I understand and respect the author's decision not to adhere to the traditional 17-syllable haiku structure, but I regret it. I think it's worth it for poets to make the extra effort to satisfy a constraint, however artificial. When we don't allow ourselves to use the first words that come to mind, we open the door to unexpected beauty.

[But yes, I do know that structure isn't everything.]
Apr 29, 2014 Romelle rated it liked it
What attracted me to this book was the clever title and the beautiful, whimsical illustrations done in water color. And the panda. I love pandas. Jon J. Muth included an author's note to explain the poetic form of Haiku. He goes on to say that many modern poets no longer abide by the strict structure of Haiku. In this story Jon, himself, does not follow the 5-7-5 syllable pattern, which I find personally disappointing because I wanted to see it demonstrated in Hi, Koo!

This picture book takes the
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
This book is simply beautiful. Both in it's words and illustrations. Author Jon J Muth does a brilliant job at introducing readers to Haiku, a poetic form that originated in Japan, to tell his story. I've not read a book written in Haiku, and I have to say I loved it. I worked perfect for Koo's story. We loved the illustrations and the telling of the different seasons. I felt like Jon captured the essence of what each of the four seasons brings and encompasses perfectly with Koo's story. My litt ...more
Patricia Stephens
Nov 13, 2014 Patricia Stephens rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
This poetry book was great. It is basically made up of a bunch of Haiku's that tell a story and show the seasons changing throughout the year. I also liked how the author played with the word "Haiku" and made the title "Hi, Koo!" Overall, the panda in the book experiences all the seasons and tells of stories and events that are involved with those seasons.

What I noticed was how you could see the seasons changing gradually throughout the book. It wasn't a drastic change that was abrupt with one p
Vera Godley
Mar 03, 2014 Vera Godley rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Poetry forms usually don’t translate from one language to another nor from one culture to another. The form, haiku, is a form of poetry that doesn’t rhyme. It is Japanese in origin and form. Based on a word/line pattern. It is a bit terse.

The children’s picture book Hi, Koo! Is a lovely picture book that traverses the seasons. Written and illustrated by Jon J. Muth, Koo the little Panda frolics across the pages in delightful form. Each page and verse of haiku focuses on a letter of the alphabet
Note: I won this in a First Reads giveaway (hooray!), so thank you! All opinions in this review are my own.

Not all picture books are for little children. Sometimes they are for children in grownups' bodies. Other times they are for grownups to read to children. And still other times, a child might pick up a book and love it no matter what.

Hi, Koo! is not something I'd read in my storytime, for example. Muth does a great job explaining the art of haiku, and how it's not just 5-7-5 syllabic count
Feb 01, 2014 Amanda rated it really liked it
So many emotions to be surprised with in this collection of seasonal haiku, but I am most impressed with how well integrated the alphabet path is - so naturally woven in that I forgot to watch for it until around "TUV". The innocent humor in Muth's beautiful illustrations is enchanting, and a reason to revisit this one again and again.
Julia Whalen
Oct 15, 2014 Julia Whalen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: caldecott-medal
Beyond the clever title of this book, it is an exceptional children's book on so many levels. The fact that the title is a play on words might be my favorite part, making a discrete connection between haiku poetry and a sweet little panda bear named "Koo." I find using only haiku poetry to compose an entire children's book so creative and entertaining! It is written in simple language using 26 Haiku poems that describe in detail the characteristics of the 4 seasons as seen by Koo. Games and acti ...more
Oct 02, 2015 Andrea rated it really liked it
Shelves: rll-538
Hi, Koo! A Year of Seasons: Such a clever title for a poetry book that follows a lovable panda bear named Koo as he leads us through the ever-changing seasons by way of haiku. The seasons change, as do Koo’s outdoor activities and adorable wardrobe. He meets two children along the way and they continue on the year long journey with Koo, as he shows them all the fun to be had during each season. This is a wonderful message for students to learn that there are many more activities to do than watch ...more
Lindsay Rains
Oct 05, 2014 Lindsay Rains added it
Shelves: libs-642
Muth, J.J. (2014). Hi, Koo! A Year of Seasons. New York: Scholastic Press.

Recommended by Instructor


This picture book is a compilation of many haikus that deal with the different seasons. The main character that the haikus revolve around is a panda named Koo. There isn’t a lot of wording since there is only a haiku on each page. For each haiku, there is an illustration that goes with it. The illustrations are done beautifully and have a whimsical simplistic look to them. This book contains
Feb 24, 2014 Jordan rated it really liked it
killing a bug
feeling alone and Sad

Buy this title from Powell's Books.
Lovely, charming illustrations!
Catey Steele
Oct 12, 2014 Catey Steele rated it really liked it
I really think Jon Muth could have a good shot at the Caldecott award with the book Hi, Koo!. For as difficult of a topic as Haiku's are, this book shows great examples of how to form these poems in such a free matter. The illustrations are very unique. Each illustration had bright, pigmented colors. The detail of each picture was very intricate, like the panda bear looking down at the cat underneath the snow, and the two children doing handstands with their friend, panda. When they had watched ...more
Jun 02, 2014 Susan rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books-jp
Charming brief poems and illustrations about the seasons, however as the author's note in the beginning explains he has put his own spin on haiku, breaking free from the restrictive 5/7/5 syllable pattern of a haiku. Reviews have waxed poetic about his bravery to spurn tradition and create a fresh new spin on haiku...whatever. They are lovely poems but just bloody well call them lovely poems. Another reviewer said well, poetry is dead so yay him for reinventing it. Poetry is hardly dead, it is t ...more
This is the second book of haiku published in a picture book for children that I have read. For someone like myself who has written and published hundreds of haiku, it is a fascinating turn of events. Fortunately, the author knows something of the history of haiku and does not stick to the 5-7-5 format. Most modern haiku poets writing in English do not subscribe to the 5-7-5 format. Muth does set his haiku within nature and the four seasons which is one of the most important requirements for wri ...more
May 02, 2014 Kasey rated it it was amazing
Text-to-Self: This book reminds me of when I first started to write poems in elementary school. I could not tell you why I was so interested in Haiku poems more than any other kind, but I was. I was so excited to find this book that I could not pass it up. At the beginning of the book, the author explains that they do not follow the american way of Haiku writing but the Japanese way. However, they explain that it does not have the traditional syllable count that we all know because in Japan it d ...more
May 01, 2014 Tasha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books, poetry
Join Koo, a panda, on an exploration of the seasons through haiku poems. The book begins with fall and haikus about fall leaves, wind, and rain. Winter comes next with poetry about snow and ice. Spring is bridged into with a glimpse of crocuses and then grass, insects, and birds. Summer arrives with fireflies, flowers and water. In 26 poems, this is a lovely celebration of the small things that make each season special.

Muth has created haikus that are beautifully written. They capture small mome
Koo joyously celebrates the seasons in haiku form. While not strictly adhering to the number count of traditional haiku, this modern version retains its essence by taking snapshots of time with a primary emphasis on nature. Each segment is a delicate piece of written art, simple, yet emotionally evocative. Koo and his friends are adorable as they play in both silly scenes, and awe-inspiring settings. With every moment enjoyed to the fullest.

Watercolours grace these pages with their soft touch, p
Alex Baugh
Apr 27, 2014 Alex Baugh rated it it was amazing
Shelves: randomly-reading
Whenever a new book about bears is published, especially those that are about pandas or polar bears, my friends all send me messages about it. They all know I tend to gush over bears and if I had a bucket list, playing with a panda would definitely be one it.

So, naturally, when Hi, Koo! came out, I had a flutter of email and Facebook activity. But I was one step ahead of everyone on this one and already had a copy. Hi, Koo! is a wonderful, gentle poetic journey through the four seasons in the co
Apr 13, 2014 Nicole rated it it was amazing
Hi, Koo! by Jon J. Muth
Scholastic Press, 2014
32 pages
Recommended for grades 1-4

If Jon J. Muth paints it, I will buy it. There is something so perfectly real and also perfectly magical about all of his work.

The author’s note at the start of this collection of poems informs readers of how Haiku originated in Japan and was made up of 17 sound parts called on, divided into 3 lines of 5, 7, 5 on. These Japanese sound parts do not translate into English syllables and Muth points out that, our r
Feb 21, 2014 Mary rated it it was amazing
I've taught multiple grade levels K-12 in three states and specialize in English at the secondary level. All kids, and even I, struggle with haikus. The ones provided in traditional textbooks rarely help and just getting the pattern down is usually the goal. In fact, in poetry units, only one day is usually reserved for haikus. However, this book is an adorable and engaging way to teach haikus. Children can be challenged to write their own stories about interacting with nature and the seasons us ...more
Mar 28, 2014 Nancy rated it really liked it
Hi, Koo! is actually written in Haiku which I am sure will be way over your young reader’s understanding, but for the adult, it is a fun way to reintroduce this form of poetry.

Haiku traditionally is made up of seventeen sounds, but English syllables and Japanese “on” are not the same. Since traditions change, sounds are not strictly adhered to and this book takes on the more non-traditional English version of the five-seven-five syllable pattern.

In this book, Koo, an adorable panda, takes the re
Mar 21, 2016 Melanie rated it really liked it
I quite enjoyed this one, especially the authors note "haiku is like an instant captured in words"; I very much love, and appreciate such a description, it makes sense to me. We beautifully travel through the seasons, with beautiful words and beautiful pictures, how wonderful ...more
Twenty-six haiku celebrate the unique natural wonders of each of the four seasons in this charming picture book. An expressive panda named Koo is joined by two young friends as they find enjoyment and insight in the simple pleasures of their daily lives. Some of the verses will prompt smiles while others will bring readers up short and gently nudge them to look at things from a different perspective. The verses are thoughtful and inspire additional contemplation while the watercolor and ink illu ...more
David Schaafsma
Nov 19, 2014 David Schaafsma rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, picturebooks
A rare children's poetry book (in my experience, at least!) so you gotta support that, and this is a comics guy who also does haiku, so you gotta like that! The watercolor art is lovely and the panda Koo is pretty cute, but the haiku are not that memorable or impact-ful, really, or at least weren't for me. Goodreads nominated Picture book, 2014.
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Jon J. Muth is an American comic artist. His works include J. M. DeMatteis' graphic novel Moonshadow, Neil Gaiman's The Sandman: The Wake (along with Michael Zulli, Charles Vess), Mike Cary's Lucifer: Nirvana and Swamp Thing: Roots. Muth has gone on to an award-winning career as a children's book writer and illustrator. He received a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators for his illustration ...more
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