Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Raczka, Bob. 2010. GUYKU: A Year of Haiku for Boys. Ill. by Peter Reynolds. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 9780547240039 [Suggested Grade Levels 2–6]

Bob Raczka takes the traditional elements of haiku: the observation of nature, writing in present tense, and the 5-7-5 syllable pattern, and uses examples of the fun that boys (and girls) can have playing outside with no technology. The reader is taken on a year-long journey through the seasons. Carefree days filled with flying kites, skipping rocks, building snowmen, and playing with friends are recurring themes the reader will find throughout the book. All of the haiku poems are drawn from something that the author or his sons have experienced as boys. In a world of technology, GUYKU reminds us of the fun that can happen outside.

Peter Reynolds’ illustrations complement the poems and his choice of color brings the words to life. He uses a single hue for each season; green for spring, yellow for summer, brown for fall, and blue for winter. Reynolds’ final illustration of the book shows the friends arm in arm with surprises hidden on the page. All the colors of the seasons are included and the boys are wearing 5-7-5 on their shirts! The format of the haiku poem and the simplicity of the illustrations are key ingredients for making this collection a must-read.

Take students outside for inspiration while they write their own haiku poems.
Host a poetry café and invite children to share their own or their favorite poetry.
Visit www.guyhaiku.com for resources and activities.

Other humorous poetry books for boys (and girls):
Clements, Andrew. DOGKU. ISBN 9780689858239
Florian, Douglas. Dinothesaurus: Prehistoric Poems and Paintings. ISBN 9781416979784
Lewis, J. Patrick. THE UNDERWEAR SALESMAN. ISBN 9780689853258

By Jane Jergensen

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