Cover image for In the eyes of the cat : Japanese poetry for all seasons
In the eyes of the cat : Japanese poetry for all seasons
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Henry Holt and Co., 1992.
Physical Description:
80 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 16 x 21.
A collection of Japanese nature poems organized according to the seasons, illustrated with paintings corresponding to the themes of the poems.
General Note:
A selection of poems translated from the Japanese.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PL782.E3 D46 1992 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A collection of Japanese nature poems organized according to the seasons, illustrated with paintings corresponding to the themes of the poems.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4-8. This collection of very short Japanese poems, known as haiku, uses words and images easy enough for the preschool child to appreciate. Each page features one very short poem about an animal set against an illustration as deceptively simple as the verse. "The garter snake / goes in and out of the grass / at the same time" is accompanied by a rendering of a yellow-and-black striped snake weaving like a ribbon through tufts of bright green grass. Demi's subjects are as brilliant as a purple-and-yellow sea slug against a green background or as subtle as white horses almost invisible in a mist. An excellent introduction to unrhymed poetry for the preschool child, or a good book for a young reader to read aloud and discuss with an adult. --Sheilamae O'Hara

Publisher's Weekly Review

``In the eyes of the cat,'' the haiku explains, one can observe the sea's color ``on a sunny day / in winter.'' Thus young readers are introduced to the delicate complexities of Japanese nature poetry. Compressed and imagistic, the 77 adaptations of traditional poems leave the impression of startling quiet. Arranged according to season, the verses interact to achieve a shifting tone. The translation is appropriately spare--``The sun is setting / On the tail / Of the copper pheasant''--and sometimes, serendipitously, the text rhymes--``How visibly / The gentle morning airs / Stir in the caterpillar's / Silky hairs.'' The horizontal format of the small book allows room for a verse and illustrations on each page. The paintings' strength lies in their rich contrasts of color, such as the opulent red poppy against an ultramarine sky. Demi, whose most recent book was Chingis Khan , incorporates elements of classical Japanese painting in her work, which abounds with finely crafted figures of puppies, cats and monkeys, surrounded by pools of negative space. Ages 6-8. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-- A collection of 77 new translations of Japanese haiku and tanka, illustrated in Demi's familiar ornate style . Each poem features a living creature in a simple vignette, some more startling than others. A wide selection of poets are represented, including the frequently anthologized Busho and Issa. The translations seem logical except one poem about a kingfisher by Tori, which appears in a more pleasing form in Richard Lewis's The Moment of Wonder (Dial, 1964; o.p.). The seasonal organization is a natural one; the size of the book and the pacing of the short selections will be attractive to primary graders. Subtle differences prevent the illustrations from becoming monotonous. The colors vary from pastels to primaries to dark wash nighttime scenes highlighted by splashes of color or white. The illustrations often evoke styles of Asian art. The pastel colors tend to be cloying, and sometimes the ornateness does not match the sparse simplicity of the poem. Some might find the pictures portraying baby animals too cute. There are a few pictures that look clumsy, and not all page layouts are balanced, but the overall effect is attractive. The bright colors and diverse animals, along with the simple language and clear imagery of the writing, will attract young readers and perhaps instill in them a desire to explore poetry further. --Annette Curtis Klause, Montgomery County Department of Public Libraries, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.