For the most part, I try to review books that will appeal to both boys and girls, but I won't pass up a book because it is super girly or especially boycentric. I would miss out on a lot of fantastic books if I did this.
Today's poetry book was written for boys, and I am so glad that I read it and reviewed it. It is a collection of haikus that explore the outdoor lives of boys, and the poems are amusing, touching, and memorable.
Illustrated by Peter Reynolds
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 6 to 10
Houghton Mifflin, 2010, 978-0-547-24003-9
For boys, the great outdoors is place that is full of possibilities. Trees are there to be climbed, streams are for damming, and fall leaf piles are for playing in. The season to come is anticipated because of the opportunities it has to offer for games and adventures.
For this delightful poetry collection, poet Bob Raczka has written twenty-four haikus specifically for boys. Boys love the outdoors and “a haiku is an observation of nature.” For him, the pairing of boyish adventures and the haiku form is a natural one.
The haiku are divided into four sections. Bob Raczka begins with haikus that explore what boys like to do in spring. We hear about how a boy goes outside to play with his kite on a windy day, and how he and the wind play tug-of-war. Not surprisingly, it looks as if “The wind is winning.”
In the section of haikus that have a summer flavor, we read about a boy who skips a stone on a body of water five times. He is thrilled because this is his “best throw ever.”
In the fall, a boy lies across a swing wondering “Who turned off all / the crickets?” He is not ready for the summer, and all its freedoms, to come to an end.
Readers will find it hard to resist this celebration of boyhood. Bob Raczka’s delightful haikus are perfectly complimented by Peter Reynolds’ expressive minimalist illustrations. For each season, the illustrations have an accent of color that best suits that season. There is green for spring, a soft golden yellow for summer, sepia for fall, and a pale cool blue for winter.
This title would make a wonderful gift for a boy who loves to be outside with the sun and the wind.