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Posted May 9, 2012
Posted January 24, 2006
Exquisite artwork and charming story
Like all Allen Say's art, the illustrations are exquisite, and the story is charming. Children nowadays find their world fun with having televisions and computers in their homes. This story is like a bit of history for them. It leads them through the good times when Japanese children eagerly anticipated the stories of the kamishibai man, and the heaviness felt by the storyteller because of the change of an era. I too grew up in a place where people didn't have televisions in their homes. Only Mrs. Chan two doors away owned a television. Every Saturday afternoon, Mrs. Chan would let us kids on the block in to watch two shows in her house. For me and the other children, it was like having a festival every weekend. Or, as I later learned to say, ¿It¿s like have Christmas every Saturday.¿ This story brought me back some wonderful childhood memories. This is a great book for children and adults to share and enjoy!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 12, 2005
More than a Book...It's a Museum
This book is absolutely amazing. It's like walking through a museum in many ways -- the author seamlessly transports us back to the Japan of his childhood in the 1940s. In the introduction, Allen Say writes, 'When I think of my childhood in Japan, I think of kamishibai. It means paper theater.' Say was born in Yokohama in 1937, into a very different Japan than what exists now. Back in the days where people didn't have televisions in their homes, children would eagerly anticipate listening to the kamishibai man's stories. 'Clack! Clack!' He would beat his wooden blocks together until he'd drawn a crowd of listeners. His stories were cliffhangers, ending with 'to be continued.' So the children would return the next day to hear what happened next. In this book, an old man who has retired to the countryside remembers his days of being a kamishibai man. 'I've been thinking how much I miss going on my rounds,' he says to his elderly wife. So, she makes him some candies, and he rides his bike back into the city, humming along the way (until he reaches the urban metropolis). He decides to set up his wooden theater in the middle of the concrete city and share the journey of his career. Thus begins a story within a story, and Say changes his style of artwork to preserve the style of the kamishibai man's illustrated cards. The facial expressions in the artwork are stunning. You have to look at each picture carefully to notice all the exquisite details. This would be a great addition to school libraries and classrooms -- teachers will love to read it out loud because it's captivating and full of dialogue.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.