Won Ton; A Cat Tale Told in Haiku

by on February 27th, 2012
Won Ton; A Cat Tale Told in Haiku Cover Image

One of my favorite books published in 2011 is this picture book written in senryu (a form of Japanese poetry with seventeen syllables focusing on the foibles of human nature–or in this case, cat nature) by Lee Wardlaw.  The story of a shelter house cat whose cynical veneer hides his own true vulnerability, is taken home by a boy who calls him Won Ton.  “Won Ton?  How can I/ be soup?  Some day I’ll tell you/My real name.  Maybe.”  As the cat and boy grow to trust each other, Won Ton reveals his real name:  “Boy, it’s time you knew:/My name is Haiku.”  The illustrator, Eugene Yelchin, uses graphite and gouache to depict the angular blue-point Siamese cat and elements of Japanese woodblock prints are incorporated into the artwork for a seamless whole.  As the new pet explores his environment, his bowl of food, the backyard, his new toy, the owner’s toes, he lets the boy know he’s ultimately happy to have found a home, but he’s still the boss!  For all cat lovers and poetry lovers, this delightful picture book will be enjoyed for its wonderful humor by all ages.



Leave a Reply