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THE CUCKOO’S HAIKU by Michael J. Rosen Kirkus Star


and Other Birding Poems

by Michael J. Rosen & illustrated by Stan Fellows

Pub Date: March 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3049-2
Publisher: Candlewick

“Haiku and bird-watching are kindred arts,” writes the Ohio-based author on the jacket flap, “the subject of both is often a fleeting impression—a snatched glimpse.” Rosen’s poetic reflection eloquently captures the essence of this season-by-season celebration of 24 common American birds, and of haiku. Fellows’s gorgeous watercolor sketches on double-page spreads model hummingbirds, grackles and purple finches in their natural habitats, while brief avian observations (in a delicate cursive that requires a bit of squinting) evoke an enthusiastic birder’s field notes. For instance, on the American goldfinch spread, it’s noted, “funny—their song is ‘potato-chips, potato-chips’.” Each haiku mirrors one of the author’s “fleeting impressions”: That notorious mimic, the Northern mockingbird, is depicted as “the one-man bird band: / diva, choir, and orchestra / unbroken record” and, in another favorite, “wild turkeys’ snow tracks / their arrows point us one way / they go the other.” A not-to-be-ignored appendix (which highlights the book’s unfortunate lack of pagination!) lists the 24 species and expands upon the author’s personal insights—often quite wonderful—into both the birds and the words. (Poetry. 6-10)