cover image Red Dragonfly on My Shoulder: Haiku

Red Dragonfly on My Shoulder: Haiku

Sylvia Cassedy, Kunihiro Suetake. HarperCollins Publishers, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-022624-4

This uncommon picture book contains 13 haiku, gracefully translated from the Japanese and playfully illustrated with Bang's ( Dawn ; The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher ) characteristic inventiveness. Composed of collages with ordinary objects crisply photographed, the illustrations--like the poems themselves--surprise the reader with their fresh imagery. A ``leaping flying fish'' made of a yam sports ruffled potato chip fins and swims in a blue corn chip sea. The book's arresting cover depicts the haiku, ``Red dragonfly on my shoulder calls me his friend. Autumn has arrived.'' But instead of a traditional fall scene, Bang photographs a plate full of leaf-shaped cookies surrounding a gingerbread man; a dragonfly with tinfoil wings rests on his shoulder. The book is printed sideways, so that each spread forms a single, tall picture--this makes it somewhat awkward to hold. Nonetheless, the juxtaposition of delicate poetry with the book's game-like pages offers an excellent introduction to haiku for young readers. Ages 5-10. (Mar.)