The Cuckoo's Haiku by Michael J. Rosen. il Stan Fellows.
Candlewick Press: Somerville, MA, 2009.

The watercolor illustrations are reason enough to make this book Picture Book of the Month. Both the composition and color convey the excitement and curiosity of birdwatching. The illustrations and playful language reflect the awe of following avians through the seasons. Little moments shared with fleeting guests are heart-warming and bring bursts of joy to our days, and I'm not even an avid watcher, just notice visitors to my region and yard.

There are some good words utilized in the poems. Some of the concepts are evocative as well, such as the comparison of electrical wires and stanzas, turkeys' arrows or the starlings' swooping formations. My anticipation got the better of me in relation to the watercolors. I expected more of the haiku, but it's good to remember how difficult it is to convey your thoughts in so few words. Looking back, I like the poetry more than I did at first. Maybe I just needed to take more time with it. I do love the book and will want to keep going back to it for a while.

I like that there are notes about the different types of birds (bird songs, coloration, etc.), but the one thing I don't like about the book is that the notes throughout are written in hard-to-read text. There are also informative end notes.

I was a little surprised by how many of the birds are familiar. Some of them I may have seen without knowing their names. Now I can look forward to possible differentiation in the future. Fun!

related-poetry for children's literature, common birds of America, birdwatching
RL=4th and up, read aloud to toddlers-3rd

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