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Friday, April 26, 2019

Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons. By Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Merce Lopez. Millbrook Press, Lerner. Thomas Allen and Son, 2019. $$23.99 ages 6 and up



"I'm a WRIGGLING tube,
soft underground tunneler -
I fear early birds

I'm red, delicious -
with a quick twist of your wrist,
I'm free from the tree "


This is a book for those who love haiku poetry, the passing of the seasons, and a chance to solve a riddle - or - 24! Laura Salas again does what she does so well - working at wordplay that is sure to entice and entertain her readers.

Beginning with spring (which makes it a perfect book to share in the moment, and for Poetry Month), the author pens delicate haiku poetry, written in the first person and offering clues for the solution.

"I am a wind bird,
sky skipper, diamond dipper,
DANCING on your string"

Kids will be delighted to have that answer pretty quickly. But, what about this one?

"colorful flowers -
we sprout on stems of people,
bloom only in rain"

There are six poems for each season. Knowing the season may make the guessing a bit easier. The language is wonderfully descriptive, and worthy of attention and deconstruction. This is a ideal book for reading first without illustrations. Once guesses have been made and recorded, go back to share it again. This time, show the visual interpretations created by Merce Lopez with acrylic on paper and finished digitally. Colors change as the seasons do, creating a strong connection. The beauty in the words is definitely enhanced by the equally captivating artwork.

In an author's note, Ms. Salas explains how her book came to be. Five years ago, during National Poetry Month, she 'combined riddles with haiku and mask poems' in what she calls the 'riddle - ku.' She offers step by step advice to readers for trying to write one, read it to friends, and revise as needed. Further reading includes other books of haiku, riddle poems, and seasons. And ... there is an answer key, just in case.

I wonder if you will solve this one (no visual):

"I'm a yellow train,
CARRYING thoughts from your brain
to the waiting page"

                                                                   


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