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GUYKU: A Year of Haiku for Boys Hardcover – October 4, 2010
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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.
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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I borrowed the book from the library for a very low level reading 7th grade boy whom I tutor. He doesn't like to read and will not sit still long for someone to read to him. These short images caught and held his attention for the entire book. So I have just purchased the book to give to him at the end of the year so he can read it to his parents this summer.