Good Reading : October 2015
GOOD READING OCTOBER 2015 69 PICTURE BOOKS REVIEWED BY MERLE MORCOM WOM word of mouth Two Tengu Tales from Japan Retold by Duncan Ball Illustrated by David Allan ‘K enji’s Magic Sandals’ is the first of these two delightful tales. It’s a bitter Japanese winter and Kenji’s mother is sick. Kenji stokes up the fire and wraps her in the war mest blankets, but despite everything he does she gets worse. Sadly, there is no money for the medicine she needs. Kenji goes to his uncle’s house for help, but cold-hearted Uncle Gonzo closes the door in his face and sends Kenji away. Walking home through the woods, Kenji meets a forest goblin with a red face and a very long nose. He’s a tengu, a magical being who can grant any wish that you ask for. Hearing that Kenji needs money for medicine, the tengu waves his magic fan – and what should appear but a pair of wooden sandals. Magic sandals! They’re so magical that every time Kenji falls over in them in the deep snow, a gold coin drops from above. Just what he needs! But beware! If somebody like mean Uncle Gonzo wears them, then the magic might work against them. In the second story, ‘The Invisible Cloak’, Hikoichi, a rather sneaky and lazy boy who loves to steal from shopkeepers, tries to trick one of those magical tengus. He wants to try on the tengu’s invisible cloak and offers to swap his telescope, which is really only a piece of bamboo, for this fantastic cloak. Of course, when Hikoichi tries it on, he becomes invisible and the tengu hears only Hikoichi’s laughter as he runs away. But again, beware! Nasty things can happen when you try to trick a tengu. Duncan Ball retells these two old Japanese tales so simply, while David Allan weaves pure magic on every page with his classic Japanese-style art. A perfect book to introduce young children to the magic world of Japanese folklore. ★★★★★ Christmas Press $19.99 Age guide 6+ How the Sun Got to Coco’s House Bob Graham While Coco slept faraway, the sun crept up slowly behind a hill, paused for a moment, seemed to think twice ... before it plunged down the other side and skidded giddy across the water. Using this beautiful imagery, Bob Graham describes the rising of the sun. He then follows its path as it leaps whole countries, waking people and animals. It heads up a beach, makes shadows in the snow, and even shines through the window of a plane where there’s a little boy travelling to visit his grandma. Eventually it reaches Coco’s house, wakes her mum and dad, and joins the family for breakfast. This is a gentle book filled with the joy and war mth that the sun brings. Every word is perfectly chosen and, as always with Bob Graham’s books, the whimsical illustrations add far more to the story than just the words. This beautiful picture book is a glorious ode to the sun. ★★★★★ Walker Books $24.95 Age guide 4+ paused for Japanese winter and Kenji’s mother is sick. Kenji Illustrations©2015BobGraham.Allrightsreserved.