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Won Ton and Chopstick: A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku Hardcover – March 17, 2015
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From School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—In this charming sequel, a new puppy threatens the titular feline's idyllic existence in an enjoyable spin on the "adjusting to new baby" theme. As in Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku (Holt, 2010), Wardlaw relates his tale through a series of senryu, short unrhymed lines of haiku containing a maximum of 17 syllables. This ancient form of Japanese poetry seeks to capture the essence of a moment, and Wardlaw uses it to humorous effect to capture Won Ton's horrified reaction to the new puppy, Chopstick. Won Ton defends his territory against the newcomer and acts out. There's an altercation at the dinner bowl: "Who. Ate. My. Dinner./Your eyes say "no-no," but your/breath brags of tuna." Yelchin's cartoony illustrations, using graphite and gouache on watercolor paper, convey Chopstick's wide-eyed innocence and Won Ton's prickly vulnerability. Though this is a stand-alone sequel, there are echoes of the first book, where readers learned that Won Ton's true name is Haiku; here, readers learn that Chopstick has a true name as well (hint: a famed haiku poet). Abundant wordplay and comic elements, such as Won Ton's repeated cry: "Puthimoutputhim/outputhimoutputhim—wait!/I said him, not me!" make this an enjoyable read-aloud. In the end, Won Ton discovers that he and the puppy have much in common: both enjoy rummaging through the garbage and cuddling with their boy. Peace is restored, and all ends happily. A wide audience of readers will be cheering Won Ton's return as well.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
“Young readers who fell in love with Won Ton in Wardlaw and Yelchin's first book, Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku, will enthusiastically welcome this new adventure, and those not yet familiar with the earlier book will likely seek it out.” ―Booklist
“A satisfying companion to Won Ton's eponymous first outing.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“In this charming sequel, a new puppy threatens the titular feline's idyllic experience in an enjoyable spin on the "adjusting to new baby" theme.” ―School Library Journal
“Each haiku is complete in itself, capturing the essence of cat...and together the poems create a whole tale of displacement and eventual mutual understanding.” ―The Horn Book
“The poetry is concise and witty...technically deft, and age-accessible. Yelchin's graphite-lined gouache art craftily echoes the verse.” ―The Bulletin
“* Will steal the hearts of readers young and old.” ―School Library Journal, starred review on Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku
“* [A] celebration of the child-pet bond.” ―Booklist, starred review on Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku
“* Perfect pussycat poetry.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review on Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku
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As with the original book the story has chapter titles thus giving a chronological plot to the story as well as more information that cannot be fit in with the haiku format. At the same time the story is easy enough to follow within the illustrations that the readers isn't left trying to add A to B then somehow to C.
At the same time the author uses the same heads-up on the haiku format and what this particular type of verse is due to the subject. And the add-on covers the person behind the meaning of the pup's "real" name.
To make the story a bit more interactive with my niece as I read it to her I did add some animal sounds and some movements since in the long run I hope she becomes just as much a fan of poetry as I am. With the Won-Ton series if anything she may become a fan of the haiku or maybe she is just taking it since she enjoys the story even more than I do.
Especially loved the playful and ever-so-true words from Won Ton, "Letmeoutletmeoutletmeoutletmeout. Wait–let me back in!" Haven't we all gone through that with our cats?
Eugene Yelchin's (Eugene is a Newbery Honoree-some people get ALL the talent) illustrations have movement, personality, and emotion. Lots of negative space highlights the movements of the animals. I loved one of the last pages in Won Ton and Chopstick where the little boy is cuddling both of his beloved animals. This illustration exudes joy and comfort and would be a comfort to the child in your life.
These are a must read/peruse/enjoy for animal lovers everywhere. Great job!
Nice place they got here.
Bed. Bowl. Blankie.
Just like home!
Or so I’ve been told.
Lee Wardlaw writes the text in senryu, a form of Japanese poetry similar to Haiku, which gives the cat’s tale a playful, poignant or humorous tone. The cat pretends not to care about being adopted, yet of course yearns for a forever home. "Please, Boy, pick me." And once chosen and named Won Ton, the cautious cat must learn to trust enough to share his real name, and heart.
Won Ton and Chopstick is the SEQUEL I have been waiting for this–it’s a subject very close to my heart, and addresses introducing new pets to resident ones–in this case a new puppy to the cat. This new delightful book is perfect for parents and kids. WON TON and CHOPSTICK, A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku offers the cat’s perspective when faced with a (hiss!) interloper.
Lee asked her publisher to send me an advanced reader’s edition and I will treasure this–it is everything I hoped and more. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book! Won Ton has a happy life with his boy, until. . .
Ears perk. Fur prickles.
Belly low, I creep . . . peek . . . FREEZE!
My eyes full of Doom.
Both of these lovely books belong in every cat lover’s library, especially when you have children. The first book WON TON humorously educates children to basic cat behaviors and emotions, teaches empathy, and celebrates the gift of saving a life, while offering a snapshot of a shelter cat’s journey from a cage to finally embracing his new life and family with trust and love.
The second book WON TON and CHOPSTICK continues the “tail” with glee, humor and gentle insight of how resident pets feel about new pets puthimoutputhimoutputhimout but how with care all can be respected and learn to accept each other….
"I shall call you…Friend."
I would love to send these books home with every new pet adoption. I cannot recommend these books highly enough.
--Amy Shojai, CABC, pet expert and author 30 pet care/behavior books