Lion of the Sky
Signed, personalized copies available
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Awards & Honors

Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons

Written by Laura Purdie Salas
Illustrated by Mercè López
Publisher: Millbrook Press, 2019
ISBN: 978-1512498097 32 pages


Have you ever looked at a firework and thought it looked like a lion’s mane? There is wonder and magic everywhere in our world, and these riddle-ku celebrate that. 24 riddle-ku capture iconic images and events of the 4 seasons, from baseball to the first day of school to a pair of cozy mittens. Look at the always-changing world around you with a new sense of imagination and curiosity with this gorgeous book!
you gasp as I roar,
my mane exploding, sizzling--
lion of the sky!

Journal Reviews

The eloquent language...the wonderfully evocative, vivid imagery in text and art also make this a welcome addition for poetry classroom units.
Richly rewarding and clever: a visually arresting, inventive treatment of a popular subject.
—Kirkus Reviews
Salas’s innovative language steals the show. What is “firelight from the past” or “a yellow train / CARRYING thoughts from your brain / to the waiting page”? (Answers: stars and a pencil.)
—The Horn Book
This well-crafted work contains versatile possibilities for classrooms and libraries.
—School Library Journal
The book’s meditative tone and resonant images invite readers to embrace new ways of seeing the world around them.
—Publishers Weekly
The concept is inviting, adding a slightly mysterious note to the familiar form of haiku, and Salas skillfully knits her verses together with consonance and wit.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Her exuberant haiku-riddles are a celebration of seasons, describing but never naming.
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
…this is a beautiful and thoughtful book. Salas also gives tips on how to create your own riddle-ku. We think it could become addictive…
—UK National Poetry Library

Reader Reactions

Lion of the Sky encourages young reader to look closely at the world around them and think creatively. Get caught up in a copy today!

—Wrapped in Foil

Laura Purdie Salas is one of children’s literature’s most prolific and inventive poets, and her newest book, Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons, is a sheer delight. If you work with children in any way or find yourself reading to them, be sure to have a copy on hand to celebrate National Poetry Month.

—Kirkus: Getting Ready for April

Lion of the Sky is a delightfully inventive take on a timeless subject.

—Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California

Readers will have fun trying to solve each of the clever “riddle-kus,” combinations of a riddle, haiku, and mask poem in which something nonhuman narrates or speaks, in Laura Purdie Salas’ collection of seasonal poems.

—International Literacy Association

The subjects described are familiar but lifted to wondrous.

—Librarian's Quest

Downloadable Activities


Photo Gallery

laura purdie salas signing lion of the sky
This is the best!
Snow angel lion
Art © Mercé Lopez
Student riddle-ku!
Student riddle-ku
Art © Mercé Lopez

More for Educators or Writers

How this Book Got Started

I love riddles, and for National Poetry Month in 2014, I created the riddle-ku form and shared one every day on my blog all month. A few years later, when I was thinking about possible next projects, I was pulled back to this addictive form. I wrote all new riddle-ku about the four seasons. It was one of my most enjoyable books to write ever!

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