Haiku at play in the animal world and vice versa.
In the first of what readers will hope will be many collaborations, Caswell and Shea team up in this charming collection of haiku for pre-readers. Caswell takes her lead from the hai of haiku, which, she explains, in Japanese means “to make light of,” presenting 10 bite-sized poetic portraits of common animals as riddles for children to solve. First, she offers a serene poetic snapshot—“a soft nose in oats / after an afternoon ride / back at the stable”—and invites readers to “guess who” is the haiku’s subject. Then, making the most of the picture-book format, the page turn reveals “A horse!” realized in Shea’s bold and cheery mixed-media illustration. That subject then offers another haiku—“one small speckled egg / wings wrap a breezy cradle / up on the treetop”—continuing the enticing chain of haiku riddles, guessing, and deeply satisfying page-turn revelations. One can just imagine roomfuls of children shouting their guesses in gleeful anticipation of Shea’s heartwarming illustrations of Caswell’s haiku subjects. Overall, a superb introduction to this potent poetic form, teaching pre-readers both the evocative power of description and the reward for listening closely.
Not to be missed: gorgeous poetry, vibrant illustrations, and masterful use of the page turn. (Picture book/poetry. 3-6)