Salas, Laura Purdie. Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons. Mercé López, Illus. Poetry. Millbrook, 04/2019. 32pp. $19.99. 978-1-5124-9809-7. OUTSTANDING. GRADES K-3.
What am I? Seasonal observations become haiku riddles in this enchanting poetry collection. “In the still-damp air,/ you sail leaf boats across me/ tiny sidewalk pond.” Twenty-four charming haiku riddles (riddle-kus, as the author calls them) capture the cycle of the seasons. Each first-person poem suggestively hints at the identity of its narrator—an object representing the spring, summer, fall, or winter. “You gasp as I roar,/ my mane EXPLODING, sizzling—lion of the sky!” The text of the poems is imposed on gorgeous acrylic illustrations in which sweeping brush strokes mingle with detailed line work to bring the natural world to life. A muted color palette balances the painterly motion, which illuminates the rhythm of the poetry. Children of many races and cultures appear throughout the book, interspersed with scenes from nature and inanimate objects. Back matter includes a note from the author instructing the reader on how to combine Haiku and mask poems (in which something non-human narrates) to create riddle-kus. Further reading includes recommended books on haiku, riddle poems, and seasons, an answer key provides solutions to the riddles in the book. During storytime, read each riddle before revealing the illustration so children can guess the answer. Lion of the Sky is a delightfully inventive take on a timeless subject.
Sarah Jo Zaharako, Chabot School