Koo is a charming panda bear who will melt your heart and tickle your funny bone in this very delightful first introduction into the Japanese form of poetry known as haiku. Hi, Koo! A Year of Seasons by author and illustrator, Jon J. Muth, captures the essence of each season with simple haiku and beautiful paintings that you and your children will want to read over and over.
Very helpful is the author's note defining traditional haiku, "made up of seventeen sound parts called on (pronounced own) --- divided into three lines with five, then seven, then five on." Muth, however, does not adhere to this rigid structure because he believes..."haiku is like an instant captured in words---using sensory images."
One of my favorite haiku, probably because I can't resist fresh, out of the oven, chocolate chip cookies, reads:
Eating warm cookies
on a cold day
As sweet and comforting as these three short lines are, they are even better paired with Muth's watercolor paintings of Koo, the natural world, and friends. In all, there are twenty-six haiku poems with a work of art for each one. Read it through one time with your child and then go back and see if they can find the alphabet path by following the capital letters in each haiku. Talk with your child about their favorite painting of Koo. Have them count how many times the black cat appears in the paintings. Take a nature walk, talk about what you see and don't be surprised if your little ones think up their own haiku poems.
Two other panda books by Muth available at the library along with this title are:
If you like these you might want to check out all the books written and/or illustrated by Jon J. Muth. Enjoy the discovery.