Wing Nuts: Screwy Haiku

Wing Nuts: Screwy Haiku

by Paul B. Janeczko, Tricia Tusa, J. Patrick Lewis

This hilarious collection of offbeat poetry introduces senryu, a cousin of haiku featuring punchy and punny poems that tackle a range of child-friendly subjects. Full color.


This hilarious collection of offbeat poetry introduces senryu, a cousin of haiku featuring punchy and punny poems that tackle a range of child-friendly subjects. Full color.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The authors define their "senryu" poems as "almost haiku-ckoo." They are intended to be silly jokes in a haiku form, but they fail to deliver either consistent humor or elegant word pictures. On the other hand, they often touch on the bodily humor that appeals to some in this age group. "Solitary crow / calls its cousin in distant pine / with its . . . cawing card." In another poem, "Noah Webster had / no choice except to put / the cart before the horse." In both cases, the poem will need to be explained to most young readers or listeners—and a joke that must be explained usually falls very flat. The illustrations are busy but appealing line drawings that are often funnier and more interesting than the poems. 2006, Little Brown, Ages 4 to 8.
—Karen Leggett
School Library Journal
Gr 2-6-This book introduces senryu, a Japanese verse form that can involve the evasive, the punny, the parodic, and the slapstick. As the back cover explains, "What is a senryu?/A funny poem that is/Almost haiku-ckoo." On the title page, readers find a youngster in pursuit of a renegade ball (a metaphor for the poetic style). It takes the boy down a ladder, below ground to a wacky parallel universe where everything familiar is turned upside down. As the chase continues, a series of delightful poems describes this strange world. The highly spirited verses feature witty wordplay and puns: "My older sister/gets a complete makeover-/very mascary!" or "On Ferris wheel/I regret French fries, milk shake-/those below agree." Finally, the ball disappears into "a giant poet-tree." A few of the offerings may not have the same layered meaning for youngsters as they do for adults; for example, an insect photographer introduces himself as a "shutterbug." Still, this book fulfills its purpose to revive and invigorate the language, and does so with humor. In her ink-and-watercolor cartoons, Tusa uses a soft palette, strong lines, and abundant white space to define the comical characters. Her artwork is a marvelous vehicle to increase children's visual literacy while complementing these zany and memorable verses. A fun choice to pair with Janeczko's A Kick in the Head (Candlewick, 2005).-Teresa Pfeifer, Alfred Zanetti Montessori Magnet School, Springfield, MA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In their first collaboration, two of the big kahunas of children's poetry deliver 23 senryu poems. Like the haiku, the senryu consists of 17 syllables, but traditionally focuses on the human world rather than the natural. Here, the intent is decidedly lighthearted, as the unattributed poems vie with each other for punny supremacy. To wit: "High school band minus / its tuba player-looking / for a substi-toot!" and "Irksome mosquito, / kindly sing your evening song / in my brother's ear." Tusa's ink-and-watercolor illustrations agreeably ratchet up the silliness, as a boy with a ball encounters an assortment of animals, veggies and people-some with very big hair-as they cavort on roller coasters, in vehicles shaped like-er, geese, and on the rim of a giant teacup. Plenty of fun, with nary a screw-up. (Poetry. 5-10)

Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.37(w) x 10.37(h) x 0.37(d)
Age Range:
1 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

Paul B. Janeczko and J. Patrick Lewis have each written more than twenty-five children's picture books and poetry books. This is their first collaborative project.

Tricia Tusa has written and illustrated several acclaimed picture books, including Mrs. Spitzer's Garden; Maebelle's Suitcase; Camilla's New Hairdo; and Bunnies in My Head, which features drawings by young patients at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

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