Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku

Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku

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by Lee Wardlaw
     
 

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Nice place they got here.

Bed. Bowl. Blankie. Just like home!

Or so I've been told.



Visiting hours!

Yawn. I pretend not to care.

Yet -- I sneak a peek.

So begins this beguiling tale of a wary shelter cat and the boy who takes him home.

Sometimes funny, sometimes

Overview

Nice place they got here.

Bed. Bowl. Blankie. Just like home!

Or so I've been told.



Visiting hours!

Yawn. I pretend not to care.

Yet -- I sneak a peek.

So begins this beguiling tale of a wary shelter cat and the boy who takes him home.

Sometimes funny, sometimes touching, this adoption story, told entirely in haiku, is unforgettable.

Editorial Reviews

Kristi Jemtegaard
…loving but unsentimental…Eugene Yelchin's sinuous draftsmanship, playful perspectives and sunny palette provide just the right counterpoint to this tale of a cat with attitude to spare.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Wardlaw (101 Ways to Bug Your Parents) has a fine understanding of the feline mind, and each 17-syllable poem packs a big impact—especially in the first section, which imagines the emotional life of a cat in a shelter. "Visiting hours!/ Yawn. I pretend not to care./ Yet—I sneak a peek." Warily, Won Ton considers the boy who is his new owner—"Won Ton? How can I/ be soup? Some day, I'll tell you/ my real name. Maybe." In the final pages, boy and cat grow to trust each other, and Won Ton reveals his real name: "Boy, it's time you knew:/ My name is Haiku." Yelchin's (Seven Hungry Babies) sleek cat is all eyes and sharp angles. The Japanese haiku theme (technically, Wardlaw explains in a note, the poems are senryu, focusing on "the foibles of human nature") is carried through with elements and backgrounds lifted from old woodblock prints. The final page, a delicate painting of the boy nuzzling the cat, is a fitting reward for the boy's patience and Won Ton's resilience. A surprisingly powerful story in verse. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)
From the Publisher

“Sometimes the full savor of a book only comes through silent absorption. That is manifestly the case with ‘Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku'…Children old enough to read will get the full force of the harmonious combination of Lee Wardlaw's wry verse and Eugene Yelchin's witty illustration.” —Wall Street Journal

“From the front cover on, this nameless shelter cat steals the show, with wide eyes, a sinewy body and a blue-gray coat....The charm of the text is that we see everything anew, from the cat's perspective.” —Chicago Tribune

“Gloriously illustrated by Eugene Yelchin, the story is a beguiling tale of a wary shelter cat and the boy who takes him home. It's an adoption story that's funny, touching, visually exciting and unforgettable.” —Santa Barbara Family Life

“The poignant story of a shelter cat finding a forever home unfolds in haiku verse in this funny, lovely and original picture book…offering a beguiling mix of humor…and emotion--along with a painless lesson in the creative possibilities of this form of poetry.” —Buffalo News

“Perfect pussycat poetry for anyone who has ever loved a shelter cat.” —Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“[A]n unforgettable character in a shelter cat whose veneer of cynical toughness masks his vulnerability. Won Ton's sweetly humorous story will steal the hearts of readers young and old.” —School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“Both the tightly constructed lines and elegant, playful illustrations unerringly imagine a cat's world, including the characteristic feline seesaw between aloof independence and purring, kneading adoration…[A] wry, heartwarming title that's sure to find wide acceptance in the classroom and beyond.” —Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“A surprisingly powerful story in verse.” —Publishers Weekly

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
A cat tells his story in a series of terse senryu poems, a form of Japanese poetry similar to haiku, but focused on the foibles of human nature. This cat begins his story in a cage in a shelter. In "The Choosing," he is taken from his cage. He is then driven in a car to a new home and named Won Ton. He explores the home with a cat's typical superior attitude; then he ventures outdoors. Finally he chooses one of the family to be "My Boy," and feels that he is happily at home at last. This slick, imperious cat, detailed in graphite and gouache, is shorthaired and gray, with big blue eyes. He has the usual sleek feline moves, wrapping himself around a leg or leaping over furniture, repeatedly demanding to go out and then come in. He endures being dressed in a dress and silly hat and enjoys total repose on a pile of laundry. Only minimal props are needed to illustrate his story. The end pages are textured just like his fur. A note explains senryu. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—Text and illustrations work together to craft an unforgettable character in a shelter cat whose veneer of cynical toughness masks his vulnerability. As he gazes from behind the bars of his cage, he quips: "Nice place they got here./Bed. Bowl. Blankie. Just like home!/Or so I've been told." He's adopted by a boy and his family, driven home ("letmeoutletme/outletmeoutletmeout./Wait—let me back in!"); and given a name: "Won Ton? How can I/be soup? Some day, I'll tell you/my real name. Maybe." Yelchin's superb illustrations, graphite and gouache on watercolor paper, depict an angular blue-black-haired Siamese, capturing all facets of his singular, feisty, and playful personality. Wardlaw relates his tale using a series of senryu, three unrhymed lines similar to haiku; in a note, he explains that the form focuses on "the foibles of human nature—or in this case, cat nature." The book's overall design, with text laid carefully between and around eye-catching, brilliantly composed illustrations, complements the engaging tale. Won Ton's sweetly humorous story will steal the hearts of readers young and old.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews

In 33 senryu (Japanese poetry similar to and derived from haiku but focusing on human—or, here, feline—foibles instead of nature), Wardlaw relates the tale of a grey shelter cat. In his cage he thinks, "Gypsy on my left. / Pumpkin, my right. Together, / we are all alone." During visiting hours one day, though he takes pains to appear disinterested, the grey cat hopes the boy who rubs his chin just right will selecthim. He does! And after a scary car ride comes the naming. "Buster? Bubba? SPIKE? / Great Rats! Those don't befit an / Oriental prince." Won Ton might be what the boy calls him, but he has a secret name...he won't tell just anyone. Won Ton survives new food, being catnapped and dressed up and a trip to the backyard. And he finally calls the boy's house home. Wardlaw's terse, traditional verse captures catness from every angle, while Yelchin's graphite and gouache illustrations telegraph cat-itude with every stretch and sinuous slink. Perfect pussycat poetry for anyone who has ever loved a shelter cat.(Picture book/poetry. 4-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781466813670
Publisher:
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
02/15/2011
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
681,538
File size:
20 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Lee Wardlaw has published more than two dozen award-winning books for young readers, including 101 Ways to Bug Your Parents and 101 Ways to Bug Your Teacher. She lives in Santa Barbara, CA, with her family.

Eugene Yelchin has illustrated Who Ate All the Cookie Dough? by Karen Beaumont and The Cobbler's Holiday or Why Ants Don't Wear Shoes by Musharraf Ali Farooqi. With his wife, Mary Kuryla, he cowrote Heart of a Snowman and Ghost Files: The Haunting Truth which he also illustrated. He lives in Topanga, California.


Lee Wardlaw has published more than two dozen award-winning books for young readers, including Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku and Red, White, and Boom! She lives in Santa Barbara, California.
EUGENE YELCHIN studied art and theater design at the Leningrad Institute of Theater Arts. He lives in California.

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Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago