January has started with a bang! With so much going on, it’s easy to feel a little snowed in AND snowed under, which is why Guyku was such a lovely reprieve. There is nothing as satisfying as a really great haiku poem. I would like to think that we are on the brink of a haiku-volution. Surely a generation that has been so quick to embrace 140 characters in the form of tweets can appreciate a haiku, which at first glance is similar in length but is so much more satisfying to the soul than twitter?
Bob Raczka’s poems are arranged in seasons, which is common among poetry books for children. Less common is the ease of which he combines a playful spirit, love of the natural world, and wonder in the strict form of the haiku. His poems flow so naturally that I had to double check to make sure he was adhereing to the haiku rules. Just try reading this without smiling:
Hey, who turned off all
the crickets? I’m not ready
for summer to end
If this puddle could
talk, I think it would tell me
to splash my sister
Raczka’s tone is perfectly suited to illustrator Peter H. Reynolds, most well known for The Dot, Ish, and So Few of Me, though he has written and illustrated a host of other enjoyable books. His is the rare ability to write picturebooks that speak to both adults and children, in which the message is strong but the method is delicate.
There is a folksy sort of wisdom in this book (not in a Sarah Palin’s Alaska kind of way, more in a hotdogs and summer dams and tree climing kind of way) that I worry is becoming foreign for many children these days. With the rampant overscheduling of our children and the push for them to achieve more at an earlier and earlier age, I worry that the only frog catching and bike racing and tree climbing that kids will do is vicariously through reading books such as Guyku. The world Reynolds and Raczka create is fun, simple and full of rural pleasures- don’t let this world become extinct! You can start by sharing this lovely book with a guy (or girl) in your own life.