Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary
Author: Jon J Muth
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Hi, Koo! A Year of Seasons is about a panda named Koo during the seasons of the year. Instead of a specific storyline, it is a collection of haiku about different events throughout the year. Each poem is accompanied by an illustration of Koo with his friends doing something related to the haiku. The author’s note in the beginning explaining that the traditional 5-7-5 pattern of haiku is hard to accomplish in English so the emphasis in this book is the feeling of the poetry rather than the pattern of it.
This book contains a surprising amount of depth for a picture book with its hidden alphabet pattern, familiarization with a form of poetry that it likely new for its audience, and beautiful pictures. The unusual choice of writing in haiku and then breaking haiku tradition helps keep the emphasis on the emotions of the poem and the beautiful illustrations. This book would be useful for introducing children to haiku and being connected to nature, but younger children might not be able to grasp it as well as older children can.