Friday, March 3, 2017

Poetry Friday with a review of Guess Who, Haiku

When is a haiku more than a haiku? When the haiku is a puzzle that we need to solve. In this clever little book we are presented with ten haikum and in each case we need to guess what the haiku is describing. I love how playful and accessible this book is, and I imagine it will delight and charm little children with its clever imagery, its artwork, and its puzzles.

Guess Who, Haiku Guess Who, Haiku
Deanna Caswell
Illustrations by Bob Shea
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
Abrams, 2016, 978-1-4197-1889-2
These days we see words everywhere. They are on signs, on our television and phone screens, on food packages, and, of course, in books. Sometimes we take words for granted and forget that they are a gift. They give us information, help us to connect with others, and in the case of stories and poems, they enrich our lives with language that amuses, transports, and delights us.
   For this charming little collection of poems, Deanna Caswell puts together words to give us haiku that offer readers a puzzle to solve. Each haiku describes an animal of some kind, and we have to guess what the animal is from the clues we are given.
   The poet begins by saying “Here’s a haiku just for you,” and on the facing page is her gift; a little three-line poem that describes an animal that lives “on a farm,” that moos, and that produces “a fresh pail of milk.” She then asks “Can you guess who from this haiku?” When we turn the page we find the answer to this question; the animal we just read about is a cow.
   The poet then goes on to give us nine more haiku puzzles to solve, the animals we meet serving as our hosts as we go from page to page. At the end of the book the author tells us a little about haiku and how they are written.

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