GUYKU: A Year of Haiku for Boys

( 3 )

Overview

The wind and I play
tug-of-war with my new kite.
The wind is winning.

When you’re a guy, nature is one big playground—no matter what the season. There are puddles to splash in the spring, pine trees to climb in the summer, maple seeds to catch in the fall, and icicles to swordfight with in the winter.
     Nature also has...

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Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys

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Overview

The wind and I play
tug-of-war with my new kite.
The wind is winning.

When you’re a guy, nature is one big playground—no matter what the season. There are puddles to splash in the spring, pine trees to climb in the summer, maple seeds to catch in the fall, and icicles to swordfight with in the winter.
     Nature also has a way of making a guy appreciate important stuff—like how many rocks it takes to dam up a stream, or how much snow equals a day off from school.
So what kind of poetry best captures these special moments, at a length that lets guys get right back to tree-climbing and kite-flying? Why, guyku, of course!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In creating this nostalgic collection of haiku, Raczka (Summer Wonders) cites the form's brevity and its emphasis on nature and the present as reasons why it's "a wonderful form of poetry for guys like us." Categorized (as haiku traditionally are) by season and progressing through the year, his "guyku" poems celebrate the mud of spring, the campfires of summer ("With the ember end/ of my long marshmallow stick,/ I draw on the dark"), the transformation of fall, and the joys of winter, with plenty of giggling thrown in--"Penny on the rail,/ You used to look like Lincoln/ before you got smooshed." Reynolds (The Dot) provides an expressively drawn vignette for each haiku in muted tones of mossy green, sepia, and watery blue. This is childhood as adults remember it, or want to remember it: no flat-screen TVs, no computers, no cars or cellphones. Whether children will recognize their own lives in these wistful visions is not clear, but they will certainly appreciate Raczka's humor: "If this puddle could/ talk, I think it would tell me/ to splash my sister." Ages 3–7. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"This wonderful collection will resonate with all children as they recognize their earnest and sometimes misdirected antics in each poem. The pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations mirror the simplicity of each entry and capture the expressions of the boys and their adventures honestly. This is haiku at its most fun. All libraries should grab it for their collections."—School Library Journal, starred review

"This is childhood as adults remember it, or want to remember it: no flat-screen TVs, no computers, no cars or cellphones. Whether children will recognize their own lives in these wistful visions is not clear, but they will certainly appreciate Raczka's humor."—Publishers Weekly 

"Non-rhyming poetry can be a tough sell for kids. For some, though, haiku is less intimidating, thanks to its brevity and reliance on rigid rules—and intimidating is one thing this book is not."—Booklist

"Raczka and Reynolds are a winning team, and the results will start many boy (and girl) readers thinking about turning their own experience into a seventeen-syllable poem."—The Horn Book

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Because poetry is not considered a "guy" thing, Raczka has written twenty-four poems in haiku form celebrating the seasons, with direct appeal to boys. He begins with a section for spring, with subjects ranging from wind and kite to grasshopper and fishing. In the summer, mosquitoes and toasted marshmallows are included. For the fall, there are falling maple tree "helicopters" and leaves: "From underneath the leaf pile, my invisible brother is giggling." Then, "Winter must be here. Every time I open my mouth, a cloud comes out." Finally, "Last week's snowman looks under the weather. Must be a spring allergy." Reynolds offers lively drawings of boys in all sorts of activities as visual interpretations, with watercolor yellows, browns, and greens plus digital additions. The text is hand printed. Notes from both author and illustrator on why they did this book add background interest. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—Haiku seems like a terrific way to introduce boys to poetry; it's deceptive in its simplicity and accessible to almost any reader. The poems in this picture-book collection capture natural moments that boys, and many girls, have while playing outdoors. Each season is addressed, and moments like riding bikes in the spring with baseball cards attached to the wheels to mimic the sound of a motorcycle almost define spring. In summer, Reynolds's illustration shows a mischievous boy with an obvious dilemma. "Pine tree invites me/to climb up to the sky./How can I refuse?" The artwork and the text dovetail beautifully and help set the inquisitive and playful intent of the poems. Fall finds two boys smacking cattails against a park bench and creating a snowstorm of airborne seeds. In winter, it's boys doing what they do best—throwing snowballs and sword fighting with icicles. This wonderful collection will resonate with all children as they recognize their earnest and sometimes misdirected antics in each poem. The pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations mirror the simplicity of each entry and capture the expressions of the boys and their adventures honestly. This is haiku at its most fun. All libraries should grab it for their collections.—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547240039
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/4/2010
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 405,910
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Bob Raczka lives with his wife, sons, daughter, and dog, Rufus, in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. He is the author of several children's books, but Guyku is his first with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Visit Bob at www.bobraczka.com

Peter H. Reynolds is a New York Times best-selling illustrator who has created many acclaimed books for children, including The Dot, Ish, and The North Star. His bookstore, The Blue Bunny, and his company, FableVision, both in Massachusetts, are dedicated to sharing 'stories that matter, stories that move.' Visit his webite at www.peterhreynolds.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2014

    Favorite book ever!

    I read this book and i really liked it. It made me want to be a author and write haikus. I read guyku every day since i first read it in 3rd grade. I'm in 5th grade right now and i am 10. I Iove this book. I have reccomended this book to all my freinds and family. Think you for reading this and have a nice day.
    :) from,
    James
    Estes

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 9, 2013

    Fun, intriguing, concise.

    Just what boys enjoy, a fun, intriguing, concise book with expressive pictures. I love it and will share with students from Kindergarten through fifth grade in my elementary school library.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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