Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons

Jon J Muth. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-16668-3
Twenty-six gossamer watercolors celebrate the changing seasons with Koo, the young panda Muth introduced in Zen Ties (he’s the nephew of Stillwater, Muth’s famous panda sage). Each page features a haiku about an evocative moment (eating cookies, accidentally killing an insect) or small natural miracle (crocuses, fireflies), which, in turn, contains a word that begins with a letter of the alphabet. In the “D” haiku (“Dance through cold rain/ then go home/ to hot soup”), Koo mimics Gene Kelly, hanging off a street lamp and beaming in the rain; a second vignette shows Koo seated at the lunch table. White space is used to marvelous effect. On the “K” page, a cardinal sits on a branch against a backdrop of white, while Koo smiles from beneath it under a headdress of snow: “King!/ my crown a gift/ from a snowy branch.” In spring, Koo frolics on a grassy hill, his stubby legs up in the air, then tickles a friend with a flower for “V” (“Violet petal/ caressing a cheek/ butterfly kisses”). It’s a joyous addendum to the Stillwater books, and it overflows with the same characteristic tenderness. Ages 4–8. Agent: Allen Spiegel, Allen Spiegel Fine Arts. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/02/2013
Release date: 02/25/2014
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