40 p. Henry Holt and Company, February, 2011.
This sweetly sentimental story of a cat from shelter through adoption and, finally, trust, is told through the cat's eyes. The series of haiku perfectly epitomizes, in 17 syllables, the mien, demeanor, habits and peculiarities of a cat. He has everything he needs at the shelter, bed, bowl, blankie. He has company on his right and his left. He doesn't need visitors and feigns indifference during visiting hours. He's pinched and manhandled until a boy rubs him the right way. And takes him home.
After much hilarious discussion about a name, the family settle on Won Ton. A soup? No matter, he knows his true name. He isn't scared. He's cool. He'll play with the string to make his new owner happy. He will feign indifference to his food. He wants to go out. He wants to come in.
Dang it! Why isn't that boy paying attention? He attacks his boy's toes, kneads his boy's tummy, sets him straight when his boy refers to him as "his cat," and finally, tells the boy his true name, Haiku.
The haiku can stand alone, as a read aloud, but you wouldn't want to deprive listeners of the often hysterical gouache paintings. Indeed, pair this one with other odes to cats or collections of dog poetry for National Poetry Month in the classroom; but the fun needn't be confined to just April. Poetry books should be highlighted all year long!
I loved every poem, but laughed particularly appreciatively over the letmeoutletmeoutletmein and the letmeinletmeinletmeout poems. So, feline.