Monday, April 14, 2014

Hi, Koo! A Year of Seasons by Jon J. Muth

Whenever a new book about bears is published, especially those that are about pandas or polar bears, my friends all send me messages about it.  They all know I tend to gush over bears and if I had a bucket list, playing with a panda would definitely be one it.

So, naturally, when Hi, Koo! came out, I had a flutter of email and Facebook activity.  But I was one step ahead of everyone on this one and already had a copy.  Hi, Koo! is a wonderful, gentle poetic journey through the four seasons in the company Koo.  Well versed in haiku, Koo is the enchantingly delightful nephew of Stillwater, a giant but gentle, Zen wise Panda first introduced to young readers in Zen Shorts (Scholastic, 2005).  We met Koo in 2008 when he visited he uncle in Zen Ties.

In Hi, Koo!, Jon Muth first explains the Japanese haiku and why the line pattern of five, seven, five sound parts won't work in English.  He then tells us that for him, a haiku is an "instant captured in words...using sensory images" that capture an emotion.

And so, with Koo's help, Muth takes us through the four season in twenty six different haiku's, and thrown in for good measure is the alphabet, each letter disguised within the haiku in its capital form.

There are 6 haiku dedicated to Fall, seven to Winter, six to Spring and seven to Summer.  Each one with its own beautiful watercolor and ink illustration featuring Koo, and sometimes a little black kitten friend.

I love the idea of introducing young readers to the beauty and expressiveness of poetry and this book goes far in achieving that goal.  Muth has captured some emotional instants we have all felt at one time or another.

But, wait, see for yourself.  Allow me to share one of my favorites from each season (but the are all good):

If your young readers are already familiar with Koo, they will certainly enjoy Hi, Koo! and if they haven't met this roly-poly panda yet, they are in for a real treat.  This is a book they will want to return to again and again, especially as the seasons change.  And what a wonderful read aloud book for quiet moments like bedtime.

This book is recommended for readers age 5+
This book was purchased for my personal library


  1. Hello Alex, this is such a beautiful book, thank you for telling us about. I adore the spring picture; it just makes me want to lie on the grass and look at the sky. I also love the words to the autumn picture ‘dance through cold rain then go home to hot soup' sums up the season so well.

  2. Neat-O book! I like the clever title. I really should get this book from our library. I think my kiddos would enjoy it!

  3. Loved Zen Shorts and heard Muth speak at a children's lit festival several years ago.

  4. This one was a beautiful book Alex! absolutely loved it! And I agree.. how can one resist the little panda ? how?? just look at him...
    -Reshama @ Stackingbooks

  5. I am in love! The illustrations are absolutely adorable and I am a big fan of poetry. I don't have any little ones to share this with, but may have to get it for myself. :)

  6. Love Jon Muth and love this idea for a picture book. Will buy a copy asap! And will tweet and pin.


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