Grass Sandals: The Travels of Basho

Grade 1-6. Basho, the most revered of Japanese haiku poets, walked through many parts of the country recording his travels in diaries of prose and poetry. This picture book offers Western children a glimpse of the 17th-century poet’s classic work. Each double-page spread describes, in art and text, a notable event from one of his trips, and includes one relevant haiku and one kanji, or ideograph borrowed from written Chinese. Demi’s richly colored paintings, executed with Asian brushes on textured rice paper, are freer than those found in much of her previous work, with the figures larger and more expressive. Readers familiar with Basho and his haiku will find a romanticized and tidied-up portrait of the stark, austere poet who was more interested in inanimate objects than the animals that surround him in Demi’s pictures. That said, the author and artist accurately convey the sensibility of a man who was famous for seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary, for maintaining his individuality while prizing community. They have created an inviting introduction to his life and language. The widespread interest in haiku and in Japanese culture make Basho’s story a valuable addition to any collection.?Margaret A. Chang, North Adams State College, MA Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Year of Publication
Number of Pages
40 pgs.
ISSN Number
Average: 4 (1 vote)


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Grass Sandals: The Story of Basho

Field of Interest/Specialty: Elementary
Posted On: 05/30/2011

This was a neat book to use with second graders. It introduced them to haiku poetry, Japanese writing(kanji), and the Japanese culture in one book. The pictures were beautiful and the writing was simple enough for the children to understand and copy. I am using this book as the main resource in my mini unit.