One leaf rides the wind Counting in a Japanese garden

Celeste Davidson Mannis

Book - 2002

In this collection of haiku poems, a young girl walks through a Japanese garden and discovers many delights, from one leaf to ten stone lanterns. Includes notes about Japanese religion and philosophy.

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Picture books
New York : Viking 2002.
Physical Description
unpaged : ill
Main Author
Celeste Davidson Mannis (-)
Other Authors
Susan Kathleen Hartung (illustrator)
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

A Japanese girl in a rust-colored kimono tours a temple garden and counts its fixtures one to 10, accompanied by newcomer Mannis's haiku poetry. The book's elegantly spare design fits its Zen-influenced theme: a watercolor on the left, framed in a white border, faces a haiku on the right. The girl reaches for a drifting maple leaf in the first spread ("One leaf rides the wind./ Quick as I am, it's quicker!/ Just beyond my grasp") and Hartung (Dear Juno) places her squarely at the garden's entrance. As she admires bonsai ("a miniature forest"), views a pagoda (with its "five roofs [that] stretch to heaven") and drinks tea in a teahouse, the artist fills in details that trace her pathway before the girl lies down beside a lotus-covered pond: "What do flowers dream?/ Adrift on eight pond pillows,/ pink-cheeked blossoms rest." Notes in smaller type below offer more information (lotus blossoms "represent purity and mirror the soul's ability to reach beyond muddy waters to the sunlight of a better existence"). Little birds and a saucy cat accompany the girl through gently tinted, sweetly stylized paintings. The last spread shows the entire garden, revealing the girl's progression through it. Mannis's haiku act as both a guide to some of the elements of traditional Japanese culture and a useful introduction to the haiku form. Hartung's watercolors combine areas of finer draftsmanship with simple washes; in the artist's hands, the landscape becomes a series of meditative images. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

PreS-Gr 2-This counting book, which follows a Japanese girl as she explores a traditional garden, offers an introduction to haiku and aspects of Japanese culture. The child finds one leaf, two carved dogs flanking the entrance to a temple, three pots of bonsai trees, four startled birds, five tiers on the roof on a pagoda, six sandals outside the teahouse, seven sweet cakes, eight lotus blossoms, nine koi fish, and ten stone lanterns. A double-page panoramic view of the garden at the end allows readers to find and count the objects again. Three lines of haiku are used for each number. Accompanying each poem is a brief paragraph explaining, for example, why a pagoda has five roofs or describing an aspect of the tea ceremony. The book as a whole is elegantly and respectfully presented and the counting aspect is especially well crafted, capturing the meandering focus of a small child. Mannis's simple verses are complemented by Hartung's pleasing and evocative pen-and-ink and watercolor art.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

In this collection of haiku poems, a young girl walks through a Japanese garden and discovers many delights, from one leaf to ten stone lanterns.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Introduces haiku through a collection of ten simple poems while exploring the diversity and beauty of a Japanese garden as one leaf, three miniature bonsai trees, and other plants and garden treasures are presented.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A young girl makes her way slowly through a Japanese garden where she spots one leaf, two carved temple dogs, three miniature bonsai, and four startled birds. This counting book introduces the youngest readers to the beauty and hidden secrets of a Japanese garden. It also introduces haiku, with ten poems that are simple and straightforward. The rhythmic haiku appear in a context that will make perfect sense to young readers. Each page contains additional information about the scene shown, and with lush illustrations, the loveliness of the garden can't be ignored. This is a picture book that works on many levels.