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Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Maine Coon's Haiku and Other Poems for Cat Lovers, written by Michael J. Rosen and illustrated by Lee White. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2015. $20.00 ages 5 and up


why today the cat
who sleeps beneath the ivy
halved the blameless hearts


paired shadows prowling
in nightfall, but just two lights
pierce that darkness"

I read the first two companion books to this fine new addition to the series. As in The Cuckoo's Haiku (2009) and The Hound Dog's Haiku (2011), Michael J. Rosen presents one poem at a time. This lovely and appealing book 'purrfectly' captures the personalities of the 20 different breeds he has chosen to include here. It is as wonderful as the first two were.

There are four sections that will not surprise those who own a cat. The first is 'Inside', followed by 'Outside. When those are read, we move on to a brand new 'Inside' and then 'Outside'. You know exactly how that goes, don't you? I started this post with two of the haiku included, and each of the others is as clear and descriptive as those are. Lovely, imaginative and very welcome for cat owners everywhere. Each of the poems in this collection is balanced with a beautifully colored illustration, carefully drawn by Lee White. They add context and life to each one.

Backmatter includes some small bit of information about each of the breeds, including their historical significance as well as they ways in which they behave. If you have someone in your life who loves cats, this would make a perfect gift. It's also a great mentor text for aspiring poets. It is absolute proof that the best things can often be said in a very few words. They just need to be succinct!

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