When you’re a guy, nature is one big playground—no matter what the season. There are puddles to splash in the spring, pine trees to climb in the summer, maple seeds to catch in the fall, and icicles to swordfight with in the winter.
Nature also has a way of making a guy appreciate important stufflike how many rocks it takes to dam up a stream, or how much snow equals a day off from school.
So what kind of poetry best captures these special moments, at a length that lets guys get right back to tree-climbing and kite-flying? Why, guyku, of course!
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"Alongside books like Charlotte Zolotow’s Seasons and John Updike’s A Child’s Calendar, this is one of the best seasonal books of poems for kids I have had the pleasure to read. A worthy addition to their ranks."
–A Fuse #8 Production, School Library Journal Blog
"The artwork and the text dovetail beautifully and help set the inquisitive and playful intent of the poems. . . This is haiku at its most fun. All libraries should grab it for their collections."
–Joan Kindig, September 2010, School Library Journal
"Raczka retains the classical requirements of haiku, with a focus on nature and the seasons. . . Each of the twenty-four haiku captures with amazing economy the specific moments of a boy's life. . . Illustrator Reynolds depicts the glee and energy of the boy characters as well as natural elements, such as a puddle with a reflection, in just a few deft lines. Raczka and Reynolds are a winning team, and the results will start many boy (and girl) readers thinking about turning their own experience into a seventeen-syllable poem."
–Susan Dove Lempke, The Horn Book
Author Bob Raczka on Why He Wrote Guyku. . .
Are you a guy? Me too. I just happen to be a guy who likes haiku. When I was a boy, I didn't even know what a haiku was. But I did spend a lot of time outside with my friends. Nature was our playground, and we made the most of it—catching bugs, climbing trees, skipping stones, throwing snowballs.
Now that I'm a grown-up (sort of), I realize that haiku is a wonderful form of poetry for guys like us. Why? Because a haiku is an observation of nature, and nature is a place where guys love to be. Haiku poems are also short. They're only three lines long, with five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line, and five syllables in the third line. A haiku doesn't take long to read, but don't be fooled: a good haiku can pack a punch.
One more thing about haiku: they're written in the present tense. In other words, whatever happens in a haiku, it's happening right now. From my experience, guys are always interested in what's happening right now.
In case you were wondering, every haiku in this book is about something I did as a boy. Or something I've seen my own boys do. It's the kind of stuff I—along with amazing and inspiring illustrator Peter H. Reynolds—wanted to share with guys like you.
Illustrator Peter H. Reynolds on Why He Illustrated Guyku. . .
I am SO excited about Guyku.
I am passionate about creativity and art—inspiring EVERYONE to make their mark. . . whether art, story, or poem.
My mission is also to help people defy stereotypes—to think creatively and bravely. The invitation for boys to swim in the "poem pond" needs to be issued more often, and more loudly.
I want to shout, "Come on in! The water's fine!"
Bob Raczka's haiku are wonderfully clever, universally delightful, and filled with old-fashioned boyish fun. What a thrill it is to link arms with Bob on this poetic romp—and important mission!