Friday, January 13, 2012

The Hound Dog's Haiku: And Other Poems for Dog Lovers

Twenty haikus about pooches, a dog lover's delight! Michael J. Rosen spotlights different breeds, from the bluetick coonhound to the dachshund, composing a poem for each. My favorite belongs to the border collie:

above your fixed gaze
a Milky Way of cows move --
your constellations


As friends and family well know, my breed of choice is the pug, and I was happy to see a fitting haiku for this hyper squished-face creature that pants like a maniac in hot weather:

summer metronome
tongue darts in, out, as you do
doors revolve round you

Each haiku has its own spread and is illustrated with spot-on woodcuts by artist Mary Azarian, who won a Caldecott Medal for Snowflake Bentley. Some of the haikus might be confusing to young readers without the visual help of the art. For instance, the Great Pyrenees is captured with a two-pronged antler clasped in its jaw, capturing exactly the line "grinning dog's forked tongue."

The book concludes with two spreads of "Notes for Dog Lovers and Fans of Haiku." Each breed receives its own write-up, with doggy facts related to the poem. Did you know that the bloodhound has 230 million olfactory receptors compared to our measly six million?

With the Westminster Dog Show coming up in February, this book would make a wonderful and poetic introduction to some of the breeds.

The Hound Dog's Haiku: And Other Poems for Dog Lovers
by Michael J. Rosen
illustrations by Mary Azarian
Candlewick, 56 pages
Published: September 2011

Poetry Friday is at A Teaching Life. Head on over and read some poetry!


  1. Sounds similar to Once I Ate a Pie, which is one of my favorite kids' poetry books. I haven't seen this one yet, I'll have to check it out!

  2. Thanks for the review, Catherine. I am mad for the dog park and this book sounds divine!

    April ~ six children's authors who also teach writing...writing exercises, poetry prompts, guest interviews and more

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  4. Sorry-mis-wrote some words! The cover illustration is just so cute. I know many dog lovers who would adore this, pics, poems & extra facts. Thanks for sharing!

  5. This book sounds like so much fun!

  6. I tip my hat to you, Cath! Honored to have found your generous review. Here's to pugdom, and all the rest.
    In case you readers are interested, I cooked up a simplified step-by-step of how I encourage kids to create haiku. It's on my Website here:
    All good wishes,
    Michael J. Rosen

  7. Dogs and poetry -- how can you go wrong?!?