© 2014 Jon J Muth. Reproduced with permission from Scholastic Press.
“Hi, Koo!” by Jon J. Muth; Scholastic, $17.99, 32 pages, ages 4-8.
Celebrate spring’s arrival alongside National Poetry Month with this rhythmical offering dedicated to the bounty each season brings. Readers familiar with Muth’s books will welcome the return of Koo the panda, who appeared in the Caldecott Honor book Zen Shorts.
Rendered in watercolor and and ink, the inquisitive creature sails through the seasons with his equally adorable human sidekicks. While reading, be on the lookout for capitalized words in all of the twenty-six poems – there’s only one in each, and they are in alphabetical order. It’s one of the layers Muth crafted into this beautiful of poetry.
Muth explains the origins of Haiku in the notes. He chose not to adhere to the traditional five-seven-five syllable pattern, explaining that the form has evolved to a point where modern poets no longer feel they must stick to the structure.
These poems are sweet and harmonious, and are an enjoyable way to introduce poetry to young readers. Encourage older readers to create a poem of their own based on their favorite season. These gentle compositions are quietly inspirational, and parents may be happily surprised with their own little poet’s efforts.