Review of Won Ton, by Lee Wardlaw

Won Ton

A Cat Tale Told in Haiku

by Lee Wardlaw
illustrated by Eugene Yelchin

Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2011. 34 pages.
Starred Review

This book works both as a collection of short, accessible poems and as an entertaining picture book. The author’s note at the beginning informs us that technically the poems inside are senryu, not haiku. But the syllable format is the same, and I think it was a good choice to use “Haiku” in the title, since that is a term most school children are familiar with.

This book takes us from a cat in a pet store waiting to be bought to a cat in a home with his very own beloved boy. The illustrations show a true cat nature, and so do the poems.

Here are a few I particularly like:

Yawn. String-on-a-stick.
Fine. I’ll come out and chase it
to make you happy.

Scrat-ching-post? Haven’t
heard of it. Besides, the couch
is so much closer.

Wait — let me back in!

Your tummy, soft as
warm dough. I knead and knead, then
bake it with a nap.

Definitely charming. Reading this to a small child will prompt them to look at a cat with new eyes. Reading it to an older child may get them writing haiku of their own.

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Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.

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