Grass Sandals : The Travels of Basho

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9780689807763: Grass Sandals : The Travels of Basho

An evocative portrait of the great Japanese haiku poet describes Basho's many experiences as he traveled throughout his beloved native Japan, in a volume that also includes haiku written by Basho and Japanese characters that represent words from the verses.

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About the Author:

Dawnine Spivak is living and writing in Vermont.  She lives in rented farmhouses where old maples line the dirt road, near violet mountains where cold and poverty protect the beauty of the land.  She has taught the Japanese novel and poetry at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.  Presently Dawnine teaches literature at Sterling College and was a recent member of the Vermont Anti-Hunger Corps.

From Booklist:

Gr. 3^-5. This unusual picture book follows the seventeenth-century poet Basho on a journey across Japan. Based on his journal of prose and poetry, this is no travelogue, but a reflection on what the poet saw, what he did, and who he met as he traveled. With the exception of a verse by Issa, the haiku that appear in the book are Basho's own. While the text is agreeable enough, the book's page design and artwork are exceptional in their refreshing sense of freedom and spontaneity. An illustration note identifies the medium as colored ink applied with brushes, evidently on rice paper, but this doesn't begin to suggest the pictures' exquisite clarity of line and purity of color. Though surely inspired by Japanese art, the paintings are suffused with Demi's own sense of page design, decorative art, and good humor. Each double-page spread includes a segment of the story, a painting of Basho on his journey, a haiku reflecting some aspect of the text, and a word that appears in three forms: a painted Japanese character, its transliteration, and its translation into English. The Japanese characters are cogent visual expressions of concepts such as river, fire, or world. The same word appears in the haiku on that spread. A beautiful book and a fine resource for children studying haiku. Carolyn Phelan

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