Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys
Bob Raczka, illus. by Peter H. Reynolds
ISBN 9780547240039
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010.
Claudia Lewis Award for Poetry (Bank Street College of Education)
5 stars
Keywords: a-year-haiku-for-boys bob-raczka boys haiku poetry seasons sports

Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys
by Bob Raczka, illus. by Peter H. Reynolds

Even if your boy is not inclined to read poetry, he will love this book of haiku. Divided by season, these haiku capture a quintessential moment of spring (kite-flying, fishing); summer (tree-climbing, marshmallow roasts); fall (following deer tracks, jumping in leaf piles); and winter (throwing snowballs, icicle sword fights). The colors of the illustrations change with the seasons. Green dominates in spring, gold in summer. The warm brown of old photographs colors the fall; icy blue gives the winter poems a chilly aura.

One of my favorite poem pairings occurs in summer. A boy finds a penny on the train tracks (“Penny on the rail,/ you used to look like Lincoln/ before you got smooshed”), and on the page opposite, a boy toasting marshmallows lifts his glowing stick in the air (“With the ember end/ of my long marshmallow stick,/ I draw on the dark”). What boy would not respond to these powerful moments of observation and imagination? With this combination of poetry that seems approachable (with its five-seven-five syllable line format) and subjects near and dear to your child’s heart, he may well be inspired to try his hand at some haiku of his own. These poems will open his eyes to nature as a wonderland filled with surprises.

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