POETRY

H Is For Haiku: A Treasury of Haiku from A to Z.

. 9780998799971. illus. by Sawsan Chalabi. 40p. Penny Candy Bks. Apr. 2018. Tr $16.95.
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Gr 2–4—Twenty-six haiku, organized alphabetically by first word, capture tiny details and turn them into reflective moments in time. From a sleeping cat to a teacher grading papers in a restaurant on a lunch break, the poems build on daily observations and produce something more complex for readers to pause and consider: "Adventures over—/the cat sits in the fur ring/of his tail, and dreams." The font is part of the art's composition, and the loose cartoon illustrations help provide visual clues to untangling the text. However, a few entries are a bit tricky (without a picture of the moon, "So pale—it hardly/sat on the outstretched branch/of the winter night" could be a challenge to decipher). A note from Rosenberg's daughter at the beginning provides more context on the poet and the poetic form she loved, recognizing that she was not so strict about haiku's syllable count or the traditional subject matter. Rosenberg passed away in 1996 and the back matter includes biographical information about her and Chalabi.
VERDICT Artful, wistful, and occasionally puzzling, this slim collection of haiku will appeal most to thoughtful young readers and language enthusiasts.

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