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Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons

illus. by Mercè López. 32p. further reading. Lerner/Millbrook. Apr. 2019. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781512498097.
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Gr 1–4—A sleek bird kite flown by a child in springtime kicks off this poetic collection of seasonal objects, animals, and activities. Six poems per season invite audience observation and enjoyment. First-time readers may not realize that each haiku is also a riddle with a list of answers found at the end of the book. Only in her concluding author's note does Salas describe the structure she calls "riddle-ku." Readers are meant to guess the identity of the non-human narrator in each poem. She also notes that the non-human voices make these "mask poems." Simple instructions then encourage readers to compose their own riddle-ku. The expansive acrylic scenes featuring children, animals and/or objects offer visual cues about the narrators. For instance, the leaves talk as a child happily bounces in a pile of them. Salas often sets a playful tone and is adept with language. Her diction and syntax are simple and fun. Paired with other seasonal materials, this book offers ample discussion and teaching opportunities with individual readers or groups.
VERDICT This well-crafted work contains versatile possibilities for classrooms and libraries.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston

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