About the Holiday
Great things come in small packages, right? Just look at the amazing kiddos in your family! It’s the same with poetry! The haiku may be the smallest form of poetry, but it packs in huge heart and emotion. Traditionally written to express awe at the natural world, haiku now touches on every subject with its poignancy. Poets the world over have designated this month to create new haiku, improve their art, and share their work. To celebrate this month, try your hand at writing haiku and introduce your littlest readers to these little verses.
Guess Who, Haiku
Written by Deanna Caswell | Illustrated by Bob Shea
Down on the farm the animals are playing games and they invite readers to join in the fun! Combining poetry with a guessing game, this cute book introduces younger children to haiku. On each page an animal presents a riddle about another animal in the form of a haiku. When readers turn the page, they discover the answer to the riddle as well as another one to solve.
As morning dawns the first haiku reveals: “new day on the farm / muffled mooing announces / a fresh pail of milk.” Then kids are asked, “Can you guess who from this haiku?” Flipping the page, kids see a smiling cow who in turn has a haiku for them: “flower visitors / busy buzzing in the field / black and yellow stripes.”
Other animals familiar to kids—a horse, bird, fish, mouse, cat, dog, and this guy: “from a lily pad / keen eyes spy a careless fly / a sticky tongue—SNAP!”— also puzzle over each other from page to page. The final haiku describes an animal like no other: “two hands hold a book / guessing animals’ puzzles / written in haiku.” Who can it be? Kids will giggle and beam when they discover that they too are in the book!
Deanna Caswell’s Guess Who, Haiku is a fun way to get kids interacting with poetry and the very accessible haiku form. Her clever riddles contain lovely images and lyrical alliteration that make these poems as enjoyable to read as they are to hear.
Bob Shea’s animals are adorably illustrated on vibrant solid-colored backgrounds, and each haiku is accompanied by an image that helps kids guess the answer to the riddle. The text and illustrations work together to make Guess Who, Haiku a wonderful way to spend time with kids—who, after reading, may want to make up some poems of their own!
Ages 3 – 6
Harry N. Abrams, 2016 | ISBN 978-1419718892
Check out a gallery of work by Bob Shea on his website!
National Haiku Writing Month Activity
Animal Pairs Matching Game
You can have fun testing your powers of guessing with this cute Animal Pairs Matching Game!
- Printable Match Up the Animals! Cards
- Colored pencils, markers, or crayons
- Print the Animal Pairs Cards, print two pages to have double cards. To make the game more difficult print 3 or more pages to find 3 or more groups of matching animals
- Color the cards
- Cut out the cards
- Lay the cards face down on a table in random order
- Turn over cards to look for matching pairs
- When you find a matching pair leave the cards face up
- Continue playing until you find all the matching animal pairs or groups
Picture Book Review