Lion of the Sky:
Haiku for All Seasons
you gasp as I roar,
my mane exploding, sizzling
lion of the sky!
What do you get when you mix haiku with riddles with mask poems and add stunning art by? A collection of 24 riddle-ku that celebrates the iconic images and events of the seasons, from baseball to the first day of school to a pair of cozy mittens. Whether you want to solve riddles or immerse yourself in imaginative poems and art, this gorgeous book is for you!
Author: Laura Purdie Salas
Publisher: Millbrook (4/1/19)
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Awards and Recognition
- Starred Kirkus review
- Starred Booklist review
- Booklist Best New Books of the Week
- Horn Book‘s Top Ten Books for Summer Reading
Poetry Round Up at TLA 2019
Hear Laura share a riddle-ku and a bit about the background of the book.
FREE Activity Sheets
Click on the image to open a downloadable .pdf file.
Share your own riddle-ku and drawings!
Reviews & More
Review: Booklist: STARRED “The eloquent language ranges from philosophical to whimsical, and that tone is reflected in the colorful acrylic paintings… the wonderfully evocative, vivid imagery in text and art also make this a welcome addition for poetry classroom units.”
Review: Kirkus: STARRED “Richly rewarding and clever: a visually arresting, inventive treatment of a popular subject.”
Review: Horn Book: “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.)…Multiple readings are in order: the first few may revolve around riddle solving, while subsequent ones will allow readers to savor the imaginative language and illustrations.”
Review: School Library Journal: “This well-crafted work contains versatile possibilities for classrooms and libraries.”
Review: Publishers Weekly: “The book’s meditative tone and resonant images invite readers to embrace new ways of seeing the world around them.”
Review: Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books: “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.”
Review: Minneapolis Star Tribune: “Her exuberant haiku-riddles are a celebration of seasons, describing but never naming. What flowers bloom in the rain? With the subtle help of Mercè López’s soft acrylic illustrations, children will happily shout out the answer: Umbrellas!”
Jules Danielson: Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast: Check out a number of interior pages and admire Mercè López’s gorgeous art!
Kirkus: Getting Ready for April: “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.”
Margaret Simon: One way to write riddle-kus in the classroom. I love her popsicle stick idea!
Cover love: Bookish.com named it a Best Book Cover of April! Thank you, illustrator and designer Lindsey Owens!
Review: Ass’n. of Children’s Librarians of Northern California: “Each first-person poem suggestively hints at the identity of its narrator—an object representing the spring, summer, fall, or winter. “You gasp as I roar,/ my mane EXPLODING, sizzling—lion of the sky!”… Lion of the Sky is a delightfully inventive take on a timeless subject.”
Review: Stacked Books: “Haiku meet riddles in this wonderful collection from Laura Purdie Salas.”
Review: Margie Myers-Culver at Librarian’s Quest shares several riddle-ku from the book and says, ” These poems ask us to use all our senses, seeking answers in not-so-obvious places. The subjects described are familiar but lifted to wondrous.”
Review: The Fairview Review: “…fun book to share with a friend, taking turns to read a poem aloud and let the friend guess the answer to the riddle, then reveal the illustration to see if they were correct in their answer.”
Review: Mary Ann Grossman of the St. Paul Pioneer Press shares two riddle-ku from the book.
Review: Sal’s Fiction Addiction: “This is a book for those who love haiku poetry, the passing of the seasons, and a chance to solve a riddle – or – 24!”
UK National Poetry Library: “…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…”
Timeline and Path to Publication