IN TICKLY-TOE GRASS
a buttercup offers up
yellow nose kisses.
The simple delights in baby’s natural world—a bird, a fish, a leaf, a snowflake, a raindrop—are celebrated in the traditional Japanese poetic form, the haiku. In just 17 syllables, a moment, a season, the elements are joyfully captured. This peaceful little board book has tabs to encourage little hands to turn the pages and adorable artwork to delight everyone!
Betsy Snyder's first board book as an author-illustrator, Haiku Baby follows a tiny bluebird, the book's would-be protagonist, as it visits its various animal companions--from an elephant that shades the bird with a parasol to a fox in a meadow and a whale in the ocean. The little bird's story is told primarily in pictures, and through the book's six haiku: rain, flower, sun, leaf, snow, and--of course, it would not be a board book without--the moon, making it ideal for the bedtime line-up. Adorable collage-cut illustrations work nicely with the haiku form to give the book a whimsical, yet serene, feel. And the haiku are light and fun without being too cutesy. Index tabs on the right margin, with pictures that tie to each of the poems (leaf, raindrop, snowflake, etc.), create a unique look, and make it easy for toddlers to flip through the pages on their own without having them stick together like they can with other board books. Snyder excels at visual storytelling and short forms, possibly a talent she honed as a designer/illustrator in the kids' greeting card business. In the world of board books, this slender little volume really stands out. --Heidi Broadhead