Sunday, November 10, 2013

ReRunday: GUYKU: A YEAR OF HAIKU FOR BOYS (Picture Book)

Originally posted on May 16, 2011.


by Bob Raczka, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Houghton Mifflin, 2010

A Book Review by
Violet the Telekinetic Puppy

I’m Violet and I’m a girl puppy who likes a book called GUYKU. GUYKU is a book with lots of haiku poems about stuff boy people do outside in the spring and summer and fall and winter. Haiku is a kind of poem that has three lines and each line has a certain number of syllables and if you don’t know what a syllable is I will try to explain a syllable to you. I will try to explain a syllable to you by comparing a syllable to something else and the something else I will compare a syllable to is a tail wag.

A tail wag is when a tail goes back and then when a tail goes forth. If a tail wags back and then forth that is two tail wags. Sometimes I wag my tail back and forth when I am happy and sometimes I wag my tail back and forth when I am curious and there are other times when I wag my tail back and forth but I will tell you more about that another time. Right now I want to tell you about syllables and about how syllables help us count parts of a word and about how a tail wag is like a syllable.

Here is a picture of how a tail wag is like a syllable:

Now it is time to wag tails. Imagine I am saying a word and that the word I am saying is “frisbee” and for each part of the word “frisbee” I wag my tail once.

fris bee = wag wag

If each tail wag is one syllable then the word “frisbee” has two syllables.

I’m a puppy, so let’s see how many tail wags “puppy” has:

pup py = wag wag

It takes two tail wags to say the word “puppy” just like it takes two tail wags to say the word “frisbee” so the word “puppy” has two syllables just like the word “frisbee” has two syllables.

I’m a puppy but I am also telekinetic so let’s see how many times I wag my tail for the word “telekinetic.”

tel e ki ne tic = wag wag wag wag wag

Five tails wags means the word “telekinetic” has five syllables.

Do you understand? I hope you understand because I tried hard to explain syllables to you by comparing them to tail wags and I hope I did a good job. If I did a good job that would make me happy and I would wag my tail.

In haiku the first line has five syllables and the second line has seven syllables and the third line has five syllables again and the fourth line has zero syllables because in haiku there are only three lines.

In tail wags a haiku would look like this:

wag wag wag wag wag

wag wag wag wag wag wag wag

wag wag wag wag wag

In Guyku all the poems are haiku and they are all about boys doing stuff like fishing and flying kites and climbing trees and skipping stones and looking at stars and roasting marshmallows and throwing snowballs. There aren’t any girls in this book. There is a dog in this book but because this book is called GUYKU I bet the dog is a boy. There is also a seagull and another bird who isn’t a seagull but I don’t know what kind of bird that bird is and a squirrel and a fish and I bet they are all boys. It’s okay that there aren’t any girls in this book because it is still really good. The poems are really good and they make you see ordinary things in a special way like when the boy and the dog who is probably also a boy are looking at the stars and they think the stars look like a connect-the-dot puzzle or the boy who thinks a melted snowman has a spring allergy and he thinks the snowman’s allergy made the snowman melt. By the way, it is a snowman who melts and not a snowwoman.

I like the poems a lot and I also like the pictures that go with each poem. My favorite picture is the boy who is fishing and he doesn’t want to use worms for bait so the worms are squiggling away and the worms are probably boy worms. And my other favorite is the boy who is thinking of jumping into a puddle to get his sister wet. I just remembered there is one girl in this book and the one girl in the book is the sister of the boy who might jump in the puddle to get her wet. I just remembered something else. There is a girl mosquito in this book. A boy tries to splat her. I have lots of other favorite pictures but I won’t tell you about all of them because you can see them for yourself when you read GUYKU and you can read GUYKU even if you are a girl person or a girl seagull or a girl other type of bird or a girl fish or a girl worm or a girl telekinetic puppy.

Here is a list of who will like this book:




The best part of this book is that it makes you want to try to write your own haiku. I wrote a haiku for spring and summer and fall and winter just like the author of GUYKU did but my haiku are not about boys. Here are my haiku:

My Spring Haiku
Rainy day odors:
wet grass, wet leaves, wet dirt (mud).
My nose is happy.

My Summer Haiku
It’s a sunny day.
Come out and play with me, Cat.
I won’t bite. Promise.

My Fall Haiku
I’m howling tonight
at the biscuit in the sky—
Yummy harvest moon.

My Winter Haiku
Bone, dead fish, or ball—
what’s hiding under the ice?
I’ll find out next spring.


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