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Basho and the Fox Hardcover – November 17, 2000


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 490L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Cavendish Square Publishing; First Edition edition (November 17, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761450688
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761450689
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this imaginative, tightly woven tale starring Basho (the 17th-century Japanese poet), Myers cleverly places the renowned poet's own words at its heart. When Basho discovers a kimono-clad fox feasting on the fruit of his favorite cherry tree, he attempts to chase away the animal, who holds his ground. The seemingly sly fox strikes a deal with Basho: he and his fellow foxes will allow the poet to have the tree's entire yield only if he can write "one good haiku" (they grant him three chances). The poet's first two attempts don't cut it (ironically, the second is Basho's most celebrated haiku: "An old pond. A frog jumps in. The sound of water"). The third, written impulsively as the deadline draws near, satisfies the vain creature because the poem mentions a fox. Delivered with a light touch, in a lyrical narrative befitting its poetic hero, Myers's cunning caper offers a sage lesson: "From that day forward, Basho understood that a poem should be written for its own sake." Han's (Kongi and Potgi) elegant, expressive watercolors capture the changing seasons and the setting's natural beauty as gracefully as classic Japanese silkscreen. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-Living as a hermit, the Japanese poet Basho often goes to the banks of a river where he sits under a wild cherry tree enjoying its sweet late-summer cherries. One day, he finds a fox eating the delicious fruit, and when he tries to chase it away, it quickly identifies Basho and boasts of the poetic abilities of foxes. A bargain is made: if Basho can write a fine haiku, all of the cherries are his. The poet works all winter, but the fox has scant praise for the first two poems, one of which is Basho's most-famous haiku. With his confidence shaken, he approaches the third meeting without a suitable offering. He quickly composes a haiku to avoid embarrassment, and to his surprise, the animal is pleased. Why? Because it mentions the fox! This lively tale has good pacing, convincing characters, and a clever ending. Done in watercolor, the double-page illustrations give viewers a sense of both the outdoor world and the interior of Basho's small house. However, when separate paintings occur on facing pages, they sometimes seem at odds with one another, and though the dark palette suits the pace and subject of the book, it occasionally results in a certain murkiness. The author is careful to say that this is his own tale about Basho; a wise librarian might also want to use Dawnine Spivak's Grass Sandals: The Travels of Basho (Atheneum, 1997) to introduce the poet to this audience.
Barbara Scotto, Michael Driscoll School, Brookline, MA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

The illustrations are especially beautiful.
naeler
The best picture is that of Basho's house and the cherry tree and the forest and the river from a bird's eye view, like a map, or rather, like all maps should be!
Elisabeth Croddy
I think this book is a great book because is shows people never to give up.
Miss M's Fourth Graders

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I heard about this book one morning on NPR and I placed an order immediately, even though it wasn't going into print for another six weeks. When it arrived last week, I and my two-year-old son read it together. When we finished, he said, "Again." He was delighted by the sound of the word "Basho" and the simple, beautiful paintings of the fox, the moon, the frog, the forest, and the cherry tree. I enjoyed the haiku and the lesson Myers' shares through Basho's thoughts and actions. Even though the book is recommended for 4-8 year olds, I ordered copies for my friends with toddlers. It's a wonderful children's book.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer on November 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
What greater honor to the great poet himself than to write such an imaginative, witty, well-wrought book, and what better way to introduce a young child to the joy of haiku? I can think of none. This book embodies everything I look for in children's literature, from its playful premise, engaging story line and evocative illustrations, to the valuable lesson it imparts. If I could, I would give Basho and the Fox a 6-star rating.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Elisabeth Croddy on January 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
What a beautifully illustrated, powerfully written book! I was so surprised that my wildly energetic little boy (who does love books) wanted to read this book again and again. I love how the author teaches some Japanese words and how the pictures capture the essence of Japanese life in a simpler era. And I'm always thrilled when a children's book incorporates authentic, adult-level literature (the three haiku used would delight readers of any age.) The best picture is that of Basho's house and the cherry tree and the forest and the river from a bird's eye view, like a map, or rather, like all maps should be!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Somnambulicious on December 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book yesterday for my two daughters, both toddlers, and I'm absolutely in love with it. The storytelling and descriptions are minimalist, as is appropriate for a book about a haiku poet. Han's beautiful illustrations compliment the story well. But first and foremost, I loved the characterization of the kitsune. It comes across as quite a haughty creature in the beginning, telling Basho that the kitsune are far better poets than humans could ever be. But in the end, when Basho finally comes up with a poem that the kitsune enjoys, the reader finds out just how hilariously self- absorbed the kitsune can be. There are small references to the kitsune's family, which I appreciated, since kitsune in Japanese folklore are always concerned, first and foremost, with their families. Another thing I love about this book is that there isn't too much text on each page. As a mother of toddlers, I often find it difficult to keep their interest when a book has too many words on a page; they like to keep the pages turning quickly. I think this will be a wonderful introduction to haiku for them, as well as an interesting glimpse into the mysterious world of the kitsune. Next on my list to buy is Myers' _Tanuki's Gift_.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By E. Jensen on December 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is simple, entertaining, lovely and smart. I enjoyed reading it and wished for more, even though I am considerably over the targeted age level. The poems in the story are enough to make the reader interested in more haiku.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Barbara J. Van Fleet on March 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I just came home from the post office where I mailed this book (after reading it - of course) to my almost 1 year old Japanese-American granddaughter. I know she'll like it (illustrations are fantastic) and her brothers 7 and 9 and Momma (Japanese) and Papa (American) will like it too. I had jotted down the information regarding the book and "googled" it when I got home and was happy to see I wasn't alone in my enthusiasm about this book.

This is a book for all ages (even grandmas) and all cultures and I'm going to buy a copy for myself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Miss M's Fourth Graders on May 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
Basho and the fox by Tim Myers is about a long time ago when a great named Basho lived in Fukazawa, Japan. He ate food, slept and wrote his poems. One day when he went to eat from a cherry tree he saw a fox climb down from it. The fox said to Basho that he must be the great poet. The fox said "The best human poems were whispered to people in their sleep by foxes." Basho never knew that foxes were very good poets. Basho said "wait!" and told him he was the great poet. The fox said if Basho writes a good haiku for the foxes by next full moon the foxes will let him have the cherry tree. Basho thought and thought and searched and searched to find a good haiku but he can't find a one that he liked. Then, he found one that he thought was good. By the time he saw a full moon in the sky he went to read his poem to the fox. Basho read, "With scent of plums on the mountain road suddenly sunrise comes." But the fox didn't like it. The fox told Basho meet me by next full moon, will you?" So Basho looked and looked for another haiku. When full moon came again he went and read it to the fox, "an old pond, a frog jumps in the sound of the water." The fox said, "Kids can do better than that." By the next full moon Basho couldn't come up with a haiku. So he did one in his head. He told it to the fox, "Summer moons over mountains are white as the tip of a fox's tail." The fox loved it very much. The fox said, "Now you can have the tree." Why did you like this one?" Basho asked. "It has a fox in it," the fox replied. So Basho got to have the cherry tree.

The theme of the book Basho and the fox is never to give up and always try your best. The time the fox didn't like his haiku he didn't give up. After that he still tried his best to write a great haiku for the fox.
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