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THE HOUND DOG'S HAIKU by Michael J. Rosen Kirkus Star


And Other Poems for Dog Lovers

by Michael J. Rosen & illustrated by Mary Azarian

Age Range: 5 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4499-4
Publisher: Candlewick

Pooches large and small, common and rare abound in this glorious collection of haiku.

Rosen last employed this most concentrated of poetic forms to survey all things avian with illustrator Stan Fellows (The Cuckoo’s Haiku and Other Birding Poems, 2009, etc.). Here he joins forces with woodcut master and Caldecott winner Azarian (Snowflake Bentley, with Jacqueline Briggs Martin, 1999) with dazzling results. The well-honed verse captures at once the depth of this potent syllabic form and essence of canine behavior, whether playful or at rest. Combined with woodcuts so intricate they take on an almost-3-D vitality, these portraits depict not only what we love about dogs but what we envy. A telling example is the colorful Old English Sheepdog: “dog day before noon: / cool sun warming your left side / dog day afternoon…” Other snapshots, like the Parson Russell Terrier, “elbow-deep in dirt” with “nothing to bury but hours,” and Miniature Schnauzer, “the one hieroglyph / that appears on all windows: / your nose writing When?” get to the more philosophic character of the species. Throughout, Azarian’s supple illustrations, richly colorful and bursting with texture, draw in young and old, while Rosen’s concluding “Notes for Dog People and Haiku Lovers” includes a wealth of canine trivia.

Brilliant in every way: poetically, visually—the Tao of dogginess! (Picture books/poetry. 5 & up)