cover image The Cuckoo's Haiku and Other Birding Poems

The Cuckoo's Haiku and Other Birding Poems

Michael J. Rosen, , illus. by Stan Fellows. . Candlewick, $17.99 (64pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-3049-2

A rare gift for young and old alike, this exquisite book about birds combines delicate verses and stunning watercolors that celebrate the natural world. Designed as if it were a birder's notebook, the book provides an intriguing haiku for each bird, dazzling paintings of the species in their habitats, as well as notes about their behaviors and traits. The double-page spread about American goldfinches shows them perched on a thistle feeder, “above gold jonquils/ feeding finches stacked like coins/ April's alchemy.” (A handwritten note adds, “funny—their song is 'potato-chips, potato-chips.' ”) The poems are arranged by seasons, and Rosen's words conjure dramatic images—in winter the dark-eyed juncos are “phased like tilted moons/ half shadow, half reflection” while the blue jay is “December's bugler/ jay! jay! jay! your one carol.” Fellows revels in the iridescent sheen of a blackbird or a field of summer wildflowers as he accurately yet expressively varies the point of view, settings and design elements for each page turn. Text and images, like a well-rehearsed duet, balance and echo each other's beauty. Ages 6–10. (Mar.)