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GUYKU: A Year of Haiku for Boys Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 4, 2010

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, October 4, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

K-Gr 3–Haiku seems like a terrific way to introduce boys to poetry; it's deceptive in its simplicity and accessible to almost any reader. The poems in this picture-book collection capture natural moments that boys, and many girls, have while playing outdoors. Each season is addressed, and moments like riding bikes in the spring with baseball cards attached to the wheels to mimic the sound of a motorcycle almost define spring. In summer, Reynolds's illustration shows a mischievous boy with an obvious dilemma. "Pine tree invites me/to climb up to the sky./How can I refuse?" The artwork and the text dovetail beautifully and help set the inquisitive and playful intent of the poems. Fall finds two boys smacking cattails against a park bench and creating a snowstorm of airborne seeds. In winter, it's boys doing what they do best–throwing snowballs and sword fighting with icicles. This wonderful collection will resonate with all children as they recognize their earnest and sometimes misdirected antics in each poem. The pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations mirror the simplicity of each entry and capture the expressions of the boys and their adventures honestly. This is haiku at its most fun. All libraries should grab it for their collections.Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Nonrhyming poetry can be a tough sell for kids. For some, though, haiku is less intimidating, thanks to its brevity and reliance on rigid rules—and intimidating is one thing this book is not. Dispersed across all four seasons, each haiku depicts a boy (or boys) goofing off in nature. As Raczka explains in the afterword, “Nature is a place where guys love to be.” Whether or not this is altogether true, he sure makes it look fun: boys climb trees, have icicle fights, trap grasshoppers, and even gaze wistfully at stars. Reynolds' winsome, small-scale cartoons use a single hue for each season: green (spring), yellow (summer), brown (fall), and blue (winter), while Raczka provides the 17-syllable high jinks: “Two splotches of white / on a black tree trunk. I aim / my next pitch—strike three!” A stone-skipping lad opens up the door for onomatopoetic words, too: “Skip, skip, skip, skip, plunk! / Five ripple rings in a row— / my best throw ever!” A bit halcyon, perhaps, but easy and fun to read—and that's an accomplishment. Grades 1-3. --Daniel Kraus
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"Oh, The Places You'll Go!"
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - Kindergarten
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (October 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547240031
  • ASIN: B0052HKW54
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,886,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

My wife Amy and I are the co-creators of three masterpieces: Robert, Carl and Emma. We live in Glen Ellyn, Illinois with our 10 year-old mutt, Rufus, who is also a piece of work.

I was born in Chicago, the oldest of four boys, and grew up in the suburb of Des Plaines. As a kid I loved to draw. I was also into making balsa wood airplanes and model rockets. My favorite sport has always been baseball.

Bob Raczka's Art Adventures is my ongoing nonfiction series published by The Millbrook Press. There are currently 14 books in the series. The latest, called Before They Were Famous: How Seven Artists Got Their Start, is a Junior Library Guild selection.

I've also written a series of four books about the seasons, published by Albert Whitman: Spring Things, Summer Wonders, Who Loves the Fall? and Snowy Blowy Winter.

My current love is writing children's poetry. My poetry titles include:
* Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
* Lemonade and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word (Roaring Brook)
* Fall Mixed Up (Carolrhoda)
* Joy in Mudville (Carolrhoda)
* Santa Clauses: Short Poems from the North Pole (Carolrhoda)
* Presidential Misadventures: Poems that Poke Fun at the Man in Charge (Roaring Brook)

For more information, please visit my website at bobraczka.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Peter H. Reynolds on November 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was blessed to have been asked to illustrate "Guyku." I have only enough time to do a few books a year, and so any collaborations must be ones that I really resonate with. Bob Raczka's poems immediately sent me back to my own childhood - wonderful memories where my backyard my playground. The book is sure to please any of the "guys" in your life. Gals can enjoy Guyku, but just in case they want to register their "protest" and demand "Galku" - they can visit the guykuhaiku website - a site packed with ideas and resources for any aspiring poet!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
There's been a lot of discussion lately about getting guys to read. Little guys, that is. The figuring is that if you don't rope boys into the wild world of books while they're young, you may lose them entirely once they've passed the point of no return (say, seventeen or so). So all sort of initiatives have sprung up with dudes in mind. An entire cottage industry, you might say, has surrounded the publication of male-centric fare, and I wouldn't be surprised if at some point you h ...more There's been a lot of discussion lately about getting guys to read. Little guys, that is. The figuring is that if you don't rope boys into the wild world of books while they're young, you may lose them entirely once they've passed the point of no return (say, seventeen or so). So all sort of initiatives have sprung up with dudes in mind. An entire cottage industry, you might say, has surrounded the publication of male-centric fare, and I wouldn't be surprised if at some point you hear about a Get a Boy To Read Day on the horizon. Into this atmosphere drops a little book by Bob Raczka and Peter H. Reynolds called Guyku. From that title you don't have to be an English major to figure out what it contains. High-interest boy-friendly fare is all the rage but few titles have attempted to dip such a blatant toe into the world of poetry. Raczka and Reynolds do it together with good poetry and good pictures.

If haiku has a tendency to synthesize the natural world into single lines of pure, clean thought, then how might that format be used to convey all the fun to be had when playing in that world? Guyku travels through the four seasons to conjure up old truths, new ideas, and classic bits of seasonal revelry.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By swade on October 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Guyku - a year of Haiku for Boys is a fantastic read for young and old. The illustrations are sweet. I love the book and know others will love it, too.
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By Shelli on December 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Ssssshhhhh don’t tell anyone but Guyku, A Year of Haiku for Boys is not just for guys. I loved Guyku!!! Poetry has never been my favorite thing to read; all the subtext and metaphors make my brain hurt. When I can find poetry that doesn't cause my grey matter to freak out I am happy. This book is filled with seventeen super fun words describing childhood accompanied by equally fun illustrations.

Some of my favorite haikus were:

I free grasshopper
From his tight, ten-fingered cage-
He tickles too much!

Pine tree invites me
To climb him up to the sky
How can I refuse?

And

Lying on the lawn,
We study the blackboard sky,
Connecting the dots.
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Format: Hardcover
You don't have to be a boy to love GUYKU. I remember doing all of these activities as a kid--even having a puddle beg me to splash my sister. As a grown-up, I think my favorite was:

"In a rushing stream,
we turn rocks into a dam.
Hours flow by us."

I also apprciated the author bringing in the traditional Japanese element of seasons in haiku, which is often times overlooked by Western writers. And although the book was far too short, the illustrations capture the wonder and exploration of childhood.
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Format: Hardcover
A wonderful Haiku book for boys covering all four seasons. The poetry is chocked full of activities that boys tend to love, trouble boys love to get into and things that boys find really funny. Not too rude, not too crass, just a lot of light fun. I think my male students will love writing their own haiku in the manner this author did. Makes school a lot more fun and participatory. Highly recommended book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love these poems. Perfect for my second graders to give them ideas. I would say it is not just for boys, the girls enjoyed it, too.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let's face it - the illustrations are heart warming. Great way to introduce little ones to Haiku. I love it when the children start making up their own after reading the book!
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