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The Picture-Book Club > April 2019: Haiku (Master List and General Disucssion)

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message 1: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5767 comments Mod
In April 2019 the PBC is reading these haiku picture books as a group:

Dogku
The Maine Coon's Haiku: And Other Poems for Cat Lovers
If Not for the Cat
The Cuckoo's Haiku: and Other Birding Poems
Cool Melons-- Turn to Frogs: The Life and Poems of Issa
Hi, Koo!

However, many other wonderful haiku picture books exist. Here is the place to discuss those not part of the official six selections mentioned above.


message 2: by Manybooks (last edited Apr 01, 2019 06:01PM) (new)

Manybooks | 7228 comments Mod
Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Up

Now while I have found some if not even a goodly number of the presented earth science themed haikus in Sally M. Walker's Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Up very much engaging and lyrically evocative (read successfully rendered), I personally do tend to find that the further one reads in Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Up, the increasingly awkward and not all that poetically inspiring anymore Walker's featured verses seem to become (in other words, the author's haikus about earthquakes, volcanoes, the atmosphere, glaciers and groundwater are in my humble and poetic opinion not nearly as lyrically expressive, as delicately nuanced and therefore also and unfortunately obviously also not as sweetly poetic as her verses regarding the earth as a planet, rocks and fossils tend to be, and that according to my personal poetical tastes and sensibilities, there is therefore somewhat of a definite and frustrating deterioration of lyrical haiku quality in Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Upthe closer the end of the book approaches).

And thus, while the combination of Sally M. Walker's haikus and William Grill's impressionistic illustrations presents a decent enough end product (and in conjunction with the wonderfully enlightening, informative supplemental scientific information on the earth, on its minerals, rocks, its atmospheric and geologic phenomena, as well as the appreciated list of suggestions, Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Up does create a both informative and poetic description and celebration of both basic and even not so basic geology and science), personally, I have just not found Sally M. Walker's featured earth verse haikus consistently lyrically accomplished enough for me to totally enjoy and love Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Up with no lyrical reservations (and furthermore and indeed, although I have enjoyed and appreciated William Grill's impressionistic artwork in and of itself, I also wish that he had refrained from depicting and drawing humans, that ALL of his accompanying images for Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Up would be visuals of rocks, minerals, volcanoes etc. as I do certainly tend to find William Grill's depicted humans a bit aesthetically strangely rendered and as such somewhat visually distracting for me).


message 3: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 7228 comments Mod
The Horse's Haiku

Considering that horses have always been amongst my very favourite animals, I was seriously hoping and praying that Michael J. Rosen's The Horse's Haiku would be both textually (poetically) and illustratively right up my proverbial alley so to speak (and would thus in no way also be a personal disappointment). And yes indeed, I can definitely and with absolute certainty state and claim that The Horse's Haiku is a truly wonderful and lyrical celebration of the horse, with Michael J. Rosen's haikus totally and utterly capturing and focusing on equines, on both their physical characteristics and attributes (such as that unlike us, horses see not straight ahead but to the side) and how they tend to act and react in the field, in the barn and under the saddle (although truth be told, I personally could do without the illustration of what is likely a three day eventing cross country event, as these types of competitions often do sadly involve multiple dangers, as horses are often seriously injured and sometimes even killed because they are raced and jumped at generally break-neck speeds in order to place first, in order to win).

But generally and for the most part, Stan Fellows' accompanying illustrations in The Horse's Haiku, they expressively and with both realism and imagination present and visually show equines, they portray horses as a species as aesthetically lyrically and luminously as author Michael J. Rosen distills and presents them in and with his enchanting and utterly delightful haikus (although once again, I am forced to not grant a five but a four star ranking for The Horse's Haiku, as while I do appreciate the supplemental information and details on both horses as grazers and how they according to the author are therefore also somehow predestined and lead themselves so very well to having their lives and their behaviours rendered into haiku poetry, there really should be, there really does need to be a list of suggestions for further reading and study included at the back of The Horse's Haiku and on both horses as a species and on haikus as a poetical form).


message 4: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5767 comments Mod
Great to know the team does more animal subjects and that felt this was similar quality to the “Cuckoo’s Haiku”


message 5: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5767 comments Mod
Wait, I see the illustrator is different (as with the Maine Coon Haiku). Interesting publishers keep choosing different illustrators for Rosen’s works.


message 6: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 7228 comments Mod
Kathryn wrote: "Wait, I see the illustrator is different (as with the Maine Coon Haiku). Interesting publishers keep choosing different illustrators for Rosen’s works."

Actually Stan Fellows is the illustrator for both the horse and the bird book.


message 7: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5767 comments Mod
Okay, I *thought* so but then I didn’t see it listed in his illustrator profile. Sometimes looking things up on the GR app is so frustrating but I’m rarely at my desktop these days. Thank you for clarifying.


message 8: by Michael (last edited Apr 02, 2019 10:23AM) (new)

Michael Fitzgerald | 367 comments Cricket Songs: Japanese Haiku is a nice collection (64 pages with 2 or 4 on each page), translated by poet Harry Behn from well-known Japanese poets. It is not lavishly illustrated, but does include some pictures by Japanese artists (the only named one is Sesshu).

One favorite by Kikaku:

Poor crying cricket,
perhaps your little husband
was caught by our cat.

A second volume is exactly the same in approach:
More Cricket Songs: Japanese Haiku


message 9: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5767 comments Mod
Thank you, Michael! I like that there are illustrations by Japanese artists.


message 10: by Cheryl is busier irl atm., Newbery Club host (last edited Apr 06, 2019 06:23PM) (new)

Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 6248 comments Mod
Red Dragonfly on My Shoulder is a surprisingly charming collection. Unfortunately the cover is misleading, because these actually are all traditional Japanese nature poems. The cover poem is translated as:
"Red dragonfly on my shoulder calls me his friend. Autumn has arrived." Soseki*

There is a translator's note, and an illustrator's, and both have credibility.

The illustrations are "playful" collages. I particularly enjoyed the use of set gems for a frog's eyes. I also appreciate the 'easel' format, which serves to slow the reader down, make him or her realize that this isn't a quick narrative but is poetry and is better enjoyed as at a more lingering pace.

*There is a diacritical mark over the 'o' in this name but I don't know how to type it or what it's called, sorry.


message 11: by Cheryl is busier irl atm., Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 6248 comments Mod
Not a picture-book, but from a good series for educators & homeschoolers: Gooney Bird Is So Absurd has the second-graders learning to write poetry, including haiku.


message 12: by Michael (new)

Michael Fitzgerald | 367 comments Flower, Moon, Snow: A Book of Haiku is by Kazue Mizumura (we discussed some of her other picture books a while back). For this book, she wrote original haikus and also produced woodcuts. The poems and the art are not traditional, but have relevance to the modern world (the words snowman, jack-o-lanterns, hopscotch, and foghorns are mentioned).

As the title implies, the book is divided into three sections which govern the subject matter of the poems. The first section seems to be the least modern, but even here the poems have currency. The 5-7-5 syllable scheme is not observed in many cases. I see 5-5-7, 7-7-3, 9-4-4, etc.

Some favorites:

Coming home late,
Only my moonlit shadow
Dances on the street.

Please bird, don't go yet.
You are the finishing touch
To the snowy branch.

It is not specifically stated, but I think the poems included were written in English, not translated from Japanese.

There is a good introduction that mentions things I was unaware of, such as the concept of little words that are indefinable "particles" that kind of function as punctuation in Japanese haiku where punctuation is absent. I also learned that Japanese has no plural nouns.


message 13: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (last edited May 15, 2019 06:37PM) (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2333 comments Mod
Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons by Laura Purdie Salas
The author called these "riddle-kus"--each haiku was a riddle and the reader guesses what object the haiku is describing. The book is divided into four sections, one for each season. The haiku are clever and the acrylic illustrations were lovely. Here is a sample haiku from the book:
colorful flowers--
we sprout on stems of people
bloom only in rain
There is a short bibliography and an answer key in the back. Kids should get a kick out of this book.


message 14: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Apr 12, 2019 03:59PM) (new)

Kathryn | 5767 comments Mod
I read Won-Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku several years ago and enjoyed it. Should definitely be on this list. I understand there is also a sequel out.

Here is the review I wrote at the time:
Won-Ton is the story of a shelter cat who finds a home with a boy. The story is told in haiku, and the ways Won-Ton comes to adjust to his new family is by turns humorous and touching as both cat and boy learn from one another. Ultimately, it is a testament to the love waiting in the hearts of shelter animals and of the blessings they bestow in the lives of those who adopt them.


message 15: by Cheryl is busier irl atm., Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 6248 comments Mod
I read Flower, Moon, Snow: A Book of Haiku on openlibrary.org.

Nice introduction points out, among other things, that for the sake of brevity, "snow" *means* "winter," and therefore one is not to use both words in the same poem. And then the first poem uses both words "tulips" and "spring," and many more poems do the same. Oh well, at least they're accessible, straightforward little verses that even ppl who don't like poetry will probably enjoy... and this can also be used as a mentor text.

Art reminds me just a bit of that of Evaline Ness. limited palette, layered woodcut impressions, I dunno, I'm not an artist but I see something there. I think that I liked the illustrations better than the poems, even though the colors are those normally thought of as gloomy.


message 16: by Cheryl is busier irl atm., Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 6248 comments Mod
Kathryn wrote: "I read Won-Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku several years ago and enjoyed it. Should definitely be on this list. I understand there is also a sequel out..."

Oh yes; I gave that four stars myself.


message 17: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (last edited Jun 07, 2019 06:21PM) (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2333 comments Mod
I just saw that our library system ordered a new haiku book which I have not yet seen:
My First Book of Haiku Poems by Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen
the subtitle is: Classic Poems by Japanese Haiku Masters
Here is the summary in our catalog:
My First Book of Haiku Poems introduces children to inspirational works of poetry and art that speak of our connection to the natural world, and that enhance their ability to see an entire universe in the tiniest parts of it. Each of these 20 classic poems by Issa, Shiki, Basho, and other great haiku masters is paired with a stunning original painting that opens a door to the world of a child's imagination.

A fully bilingual children's book, My First Book of Haiku Poems includes the original versions of the Japanese poems (in Japanese script and Romanized form) on each page alongside the English translation to form a complete cultural experience.

Each haiku poem is accompanied by a "dreamscape" painting by award-winning artist Tracy Gallup that will be admired by children and adults alike. Commentaries offer parents and teachers ready-made "food for thought" to share with young readers and stimulate a conversation about each work.

My First Book of Haiku Poems by Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen


message 18: by Cheryl is busier irl atm., Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 6248 comments Mod
Ty Beverly; I'm adding that to my list!


message 19: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 7228 comments Mod
Beverly wrote: "I just saw that our library system ordered a new haiku book which I have not yet seen:
My First Book of Haiku Poems by Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen
the subtitle is:..."


I bet my library will not have this, sigh, but I am adding it.


message 20: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (last edited Jul 18, 2019 11:11AM) (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2333 comments Mod
My First Book of Haiku Poems (cf message 17)
Our library's copy was recently processed, and I was able to check out a copy. Here is my review:

This is a great book for introducing elementary age students to Japanese haiku. The book is also perfect just for pleasure reading.
Each of the 20 haiku is presented first in English, then in Japanese script, and finally in Romaji. On the facing page is a painting by artist Tracy Gallup that echoes the poem, but also adds to it. For example, the haiku by Onitsura:
"Here, come here," I call,
but the fireflies
blithely go their way
is accompanied by a painting of a girl, the moon and stars, plants, and five fireflies, all enclosed inside a mason jar.
On each page, below the poem, are questions to prompt the reader to think more deeply about the poem and the power of imagination. The final page encourages readers to create their own haiku to accompany the facing illustration.
The back matter includes brief biographical notes on each of the nine poets represented: Basho, Buson, Gomei, Issa, Onitsura, Ryota, Shiki, Seishi, and Shou.


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