Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Cuckoo's Haiku: and Other Birding Poems

The Cuckoo's Haiku: and Other Birding Poems

Michael J. Rosen
Illustrator:  Stan Fellows 
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 7 and up
Candlewick Press, 2009   ISBN: 978-0763630492

For many of us poems are synonymous with rhymes. We are familiar with poems that have a bouncing rhythm, stanzas, and rhyming words. The thing is that poetry comes in a wide variety of forms. Some don’t rhyme at all, and some, like haikus, are only three lines long.

For this book, Michael Rosen has written a collection of beautiful and evocative haikus that look at twenty-four commonly seen American birds. He has organized the haikus by season, showing us the species that we are most likely to see at that time of year.

In spring there is the eastern bluebird, a pretty little bird that sings “spring’s first song” while it sits on “a staff of wires.” Then there are Northern Cardinals, bright red birds that are the “first feeders at dawn” and the “last feeders at dusk.”

In the summer you are likely to hear the northern mockingbird, that “one man bird band” that can create so many sounds. This is also the time when common grackles can be seen taking sips of water from potholes in the road.

For each poem Stan Fellows has created a double page spread pencil and watercolor illustration. There are notes about the bird species on the pages as well. These short notes are expanded on at the back of the book where readers will find “Notes for Birdwatchers and Haiku Lovers.”

This book would make a splendid gift for readers who likes poetry, and for bird lovers of all ages.