Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Monday, December 27, 2010

Is It April Yet?

No, the snow and cold have not gotten to me yet; I love winter as much as the other seasons.  But April brings National Poetry Month and this year my students and I will be celebrating with another delightful offering.  Guyku: a year of haiku for boys written by Bob Raczka with art by Peter H. Reynolds is a winning collaboration on numerous levels.  Raczka's use of this poetic art form captures, via six poems for each season, the essence of simply enjoying activities offered by the changes in our outside world throughout the year.

For spring--In a rushing stream,
                  we turn rocks into a dam.
                  Hours flow by us.

Reading this brought to mind  the seemingly endless amount of time the neighborhood kids and I spent making a multitude of waterways with sticks and stones to create whole new water kingdoms during a rainstorm.

Or for summer---Lying on the lawn,
                          we study the blackboard sky,
                          connecting the dots.

To this day I still love to spread out a blanket on a summer night counting the number of falling stars, eating Oreo cookies, slathered in bug spray lying next to my dog.

And who does not do this in winter---How many million
                                                         flakes will it take to make a
                                                        snow day tomorrow?

In reading these haiku adults are taken back to the joys of remembered youth and the readers of today are given the opportunity to unplug, get outside and use their imaginations to appreciate what is theirs for the taking.  It's important to point out that Raczka not only describes the actions of these boys but he takes it a step further by getting to the heart or soul, if you will, of what is happening in the moment.  Although Bob Raczka states in his author's note that all of the things mentioned in his poetry he did as a boy or his own boys have done, girls do and will like the very same things.

What really makes these poems pop is the art of Peter H. Reynolds whose work has been previously described in a post here in September.  His color selection for each of the seasons, green, yellow, brown and blue, is carefully maintained within the pages of this book from the title page to the closing illustration where all are blended together.  His watercolor renderings reveal the perfect facial expressions, the mood of the boys and the uncomplicated beauty of each passing season.  Whether done by the author or the illustrator each haiku is handwritten adding to the allure of making the reader a willing and comfortable participant.

As Reynolds states in his note at the book's end he believes in creativity and art that inspires everyone to make their mark especially when it comes to boys and poetry.  Readers are invited to visit Guyku Haiku for further fun projects, activities, free stuff, and more!  Haiku has always been a favorite of my students but this year it is going to be a whole lot better.

Page by page boys romp
Seasons pass as seasons will

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