by Keely Parrack
Illustrated by John Bajet
North Atlantic Books
Picture Book / Non-Fiction
ages 4 to 8
From predawn to sunrise, environments everywhere bustle with life. From the hop of a robin, to the scurry of a beetle, and the hum of a bee, nature is all around. A series of haiku take the reader on a close-up, observational look at the abundance of nature, right outside our rural, suburban, and urban homes. Each stanza focuses on an aspect of the natural world or a creature going about their daily business as the world wakes up. Alongside, informative text goes into more depth on each subject.
Instructions to help kids create their own haiku poems are included, as is a glossary and a resource list.
Haiku mixes with all sorts of fun facts about nature to create a book which is not only informative but beautiful, too.
Every page holds a part of nature (mostly creatures), presents a haiku surrounding the theme, and then dives into a larger paragraph, which describes the habits and special aspects. The information is brought across in a lovely worded way, allowing facts to come to life. More difficult terms are highlighted, and then more closely defined in a glossary at the end of the book. There is also a page at the end dedicated solely to explaining haiku and encouraging young readers to create their own.
This books is a fresh breath of nature. Each creature comes across sweet and full of life. The haiku sets a warm, inviting and comforting atmosphere, which draws in. The descriptions bring across information without becoming harsh and preachy...thanks to the playful and natural wording. It's a nice way to introduce kids to various creatures and aspects of nature, while bringing across facts they didn't know before. The informative paragraphs are a bit long and won't hold the interest of younger listeners unless being read only a few at a time. Even the older end of the age group probably won't be able to read this in one setting. There's too much to digest. Since there aren't any headers, divides, or theme headers, it's difficult to locate a certain animal for information's sake or easily start where a reader left off. It makes for a lovely but thick read.
The illustrations start out dark and slowly slide into the crisp energy of day. Each aspect of nature comes across with a lively nature and fits well with the haiku and description.
This is a great book for introducing not only haiku but also gives facts and introductions to many aspects and creatures found in nature. Even homeschoolers and classrooms can use this one.
And here they are...
Keely Parrack came to the USA from the UK twenty years ago and liked it so much that she's still here, doing what she loves best: writing poetry, picture books, and young adult novels, and motivating kids to love reading and to be confident creative writers. She has an extensive background in elementary education and is the Co-Regional Advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators, San Francisco North & East Bay. Parrack now fills her time working for her local indie bookstore, tutoring kids in creative writing, and designing haiku cards for her friends and family.
John Bajet is currently a designer on the Cartoon Network show Tom & Jerry, and Art Director at Renegade Animation.