Kirkus Reviews QR Code


A Journey in Haiku

by Curtis Manley ; illustrated by Jennifer K. Mann

Pub Date: Jan. 9th, 2024
ISBN: 9780823451661
Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

A young hiker in Oregon’s Cascade Range climbs up and down a slope, offering poetic observations along the way.

Starting out from a campground on a chilly morning, a child in a red hoodie, accompanied by parents and a younger sibling, walks to the summit of a dormant volcano (identified at the end as South Sister in central Oregon) and back. Along the way, the child takes note in haiku of bright blue skies and a still lake, of thinning trees, bobcat tracks in the snow, tiny toads on the path, and pesky mosquitoes! Glimpses of birds and other wildlife, too, especially butterflies catching updrafts at the very top of the trail, underscore the sublime character of the natural setting. That evening, nestled in a sleeping bag, the child thinks a longer thought: “trying to sleep— / what mountain will I climb / next?” Mann closes with a gallery of mountain flora and fauna spotted on the hike that joins an afterword in which Manley discusses his chosen poetic form (rightly allowing that it isn’t as syllabically rigid as often assumed) and pointedly adds a notebook to his list of recommended hiking gear. The child and the rest of the family are brown-skinned; from indistinct views, other hikers appear to be racially diverse.

Fresh and vivid.

(further reading, websites) (Picture book. 6-9)