Monday, April 04, 2011

WON TON by Lee Wardlaw

Poetry Tag continues with a book review of a new book of poetry connected to yesterday's book review.

Today’s tagline:
Another twist on poetic form

Guest Reviewers: Kellie Latson and Dana O’Neil

Featured Book: Wardlaw, Lee. Won-Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku. Ill by Eugene Yelchin. New York: Henry Holt, 2011. Print. ISBN: 9780805089950

Dana has created a very clever story-like book trailer for Won-Ton. Check it out.

Kellie writes: Won-Ton is the sweet story of a shelter cat as he settles into his new home. Told in senryu, a form of Japanese poetry, Lee Wardlaw captures the fickle essence of the feline soul: "Scrat-ching-post? /Haven't heard of it./ Besides, the couch/ is so much closer." and "I explained it loud /and clear. What part of "meow"/ don't you understand? Won-Ton narrates his story beginning in the shelter and has an opinion about many things encountered in his new home. As he settles in, he begins to form a bond with his boy and by the end of the story even shares his "real" name with him. Perhaps one of the sweetest verses in this book describes nap time with his boy:

"Your tummy, soft as
warm dough. I knead and knead, then

bake it with a nap."

Won-Ton is beautifully written and conveys the feelings of love and hope for a second chance in life. The illustrations for this book were done by Eugene Yelchin in graphite and gouache on watercolor paper. Yelchin expertly captures Won-Ton's feline nature, adding richness to the telling of the story. Senryu is a poetic form actually derived from haiku which consists of three lines of 5-7-5 syllables. The difference between haiku and senryu is that haiku describes the natural world while senryu is about human nature or in this case, feline nature.

Activities for sharing Won-Ton might include having kids expand on Won-Ton's adventure with his boy by writing and illustrating a senryu verse about something that could have happened in the story. The verses could be collected and bound into a class book about Won-Ton. Perhaps students might also want to find more information about cat behavior or shelter adoptions in their community. Of course, students are also eager to tell their own stories about pets in their lives. This book is a definite must read and will leave you with a smile.

Tomorrow’s tagline: More poems about animals

[And don’t forget to get your own copy of PoetryTagTime, an e-book with 30 poems, all connected, by 30 poets, and downloadable right now at Amazon for your Kindle or Kindle app for your computer, iPad or phone. Just 99 cents. Spread the word. Check out the book blog for teaching ideas, too, at PoetryTagTime.blogspot]

Image credit: Macmillan

Posting (not poem) by Sylvia M. Vardell and students © 2011. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

lee wardlaw said...

Me-wow! Thanks much for the lovely review and curriculum connections. I enjoyed the trailer, too!