Cover image for Bashō and the fox
Bashō and the fox
Myers, Tim.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Marshall Cavendish, 2000.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
A famous Japanese poet is challenged by a fox to create his best haiku.
Reading Level:
AD 490 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.7 0.5 43929.

Reading Counts RC K-2 3.1 2 Quiz: 22859 Guided reading level: N.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

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The great poet Basho lives in a hut in the woods, content to live simply and write his haiku poems. One day he shoos a fox out of the cherry tree hear his hut. The fox makes a deal with him, if Basho can write a poem that the fox thinks is good, the fox will leave his cherries alone forever. But will his poems ever impress the fox?

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-8. Myers spins an original fable around Japan's most famous haiku poet, Basho. One day Basho meets a fox who claims that Basho's favorite sweet cherries belong to him. The fox will give up the cherries if Basho can produce, by the cherry trees' next bloom, one haiku poem that the fox judges worthy. Han's delicate watercolors trace the change of seasons from ripe summer to pallid winter and back to bursting spring, as Basho works hard at his task, only to have the first two haiku rejected. The anxiety, frustration, embarrassment Basho feels because of the rejection bring home the difficulty of the creative process. Suspense gradually heightens until Basho comes up with just the right haiku to satisfy the fox (and listeners). --Connie Fletcher

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this imaginative, tightly woven tale starring Basho (the 17th-century Japanese poet), Myers cleverly places the renowned poet's own words at its heart. When Basho discovers a kimono-clad fox feasting on the fruit of his favorite cherry tree, he attempts to chase away the animal, who holds his ground. The seemingly sly fox strikes a deal with Basho: he and his fellow foxes will allow the poet to have the tree's entire yield only if he can write "one good haiku" (they grant him three chances). The poet's first two attempts don't cut it (ironically, the second is Basho's most celebrated haiku: "An old pond. A frog jumps in. The sound of water"). The third, written impulsively as the deadline draws near, satisfies the vain creature because the poem mentions a fox. Delivered with a light touch, in a lyrical narrative befitting its poetic hero, Myers's cunning caper offers a sage lesson: "From that day forward, Basho understood that a poem should be written for its own sake." Han's (Kongi and Potgi) elegant, expressive watercolors capture the changing seasons and the setting's natural beauty as gracefully as classic Japanese silkscreen. Ages 5-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-Living as a hermit, the Japanese poet Basho often goes to the banks of a river where he sits under a wild cherry tree enjoying its sweet late-summer cherries. One day, he finds a fox eating the delicious fruit, and when he tries to chase it away, it quickly identifies Basho and boasts of the poetic abilities of foxes. A bargain is made: if Basho can write a fine haiku, all of the cherries are his. The poet works all winter, but the fox has scant praise for the first two poems, one of which is Basho's most-famous haiku. With his confidence shaken, he approaches the third meeting without a suitable offering. He quickly composes a haiku to avoid embarrassment, and to his surprise, the animal is pleased. Why? Because it mentions the fox! This lively tale has good pacing, convincing characters, and a clever ending. Done in watercolor, the double-page illustrations give viewers a sense of both the outdoor world and the interior of Basho's small house. However, when separate paintings occur on facing pages, they sometimes seem at odds with one another, and though the dark palette suits the pace and subject of the book, it occasionally results in a certain murkiness. The author is careful to say that this is his own tale about Basho; a wise librarian might also want to use Dawnine Spivak's Grass Sandals: The Travels of Basho (Atheneum, 1997) to introduce the poet to this audience.-Barbara Scotto, Michael Driscoll School, Brookline, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.