From the Publisher
"Lachenmeyer's spare text and Sogabe's colorful cut paper and watercolor illustrations are the perfect vehicles for this short moralistic tale."
School Library Journal
"A serene lesson about the futility of cages."
"The quite and understated story line is accompanied by evocative cut-paper and watercolor illustrations."
Horn Book Guide
Junior Library Guild Monthly
Such restraint adds to the impression that The Origami Master could be mistaken for a long-forgotten gem of ancient folklore. Like those classic tales, it boasts a small cast of archetypal charactersin this case, and artist whose pride too quickly turns to jealousy and a bird whose innocent nature requires freedom. And like many of the most beloved folktales, The Origami Master brings home its moral lesson with a succession of clever plot twists.
Children will particularly love The Origami Master for its bright depictions of folded-paper animalsincluding spiders, elephants, and dragons. Anticipating young readers' interest in the art form, the book also provides easy-to-follow instructions for making their own origami.
Children's Literature - Trina Heidt
Origami master, Shima, keeps to himself and remains busy by creating beautiful origami animals. Because he stays so focused on his work, Shima does not notice much around him. One morning, he wakes to find a new origami creature atop his work table. It is even more exquisite than the one he had made the night before, but he has no idea where this beautiful work has come from. For a few days, Shima creates masterful work, only to find that each morning when he awakens he has been seemingly outdone by some unknown origami artist. Angered by being surpassed and frustrated by the mystery, Shima devises a plan and sets a trap. Nathaniel Lachenmeyer has created an extraordinary story layered with subtle lessons about life, and Aki Sogabe has artfully created a beautiful story of her own with stunning paper-cut art. The two combine to tell a truly beautiful tale. Reviewer: Trina Heidt
School Library Journal
Shima is an origami master who lives in the mountains of Japan with only his folded-paper creations for company. A warbler is building its nest in a tree in his yard and watches him at his work. For three nights, while the master is asleep, the little bird flies to his desk and folds a figure in the manner he has observed-each figure amazing the man with its simplicity and beauty. When a hiding Shima discovers the warbler at his desk, he decides to capture it in order to watch its skills firsthand, but the bird has another kind of lesson to teach him. Lachenmeyer's spare text and Sogabe's colorful cut paper and watercolor illustrations are the perfect vehicles for this short moralistic tale. Man, bird, house, and origami creations-the main elements of the story-are outlined in black. Square and rectangular patterns are repeated in the simple Japanese house and in its slatted outdoor walkway; in its screens, windows, and furniture; and in the bird's cage and the table on which it sits. While most pages hold full- or double-page illustrations, three images that show Shima catching and caging the bird and the final picture indicating his offering of friendship are enclosed in red-bordered boxes. A solid choice for discussing the importance of respecting each living creature's own space.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
A serene lesson about the futility of cages. Shima the Origami Master lives alone in the mountains. A warbler, nesting nearby, watches him at his craft. While Shima sleeps, the warbler folds paper with its claws and beak, creating an elephant, a dragon, a spider-all better then Shima's. Intrigued and perhaps jealous, Shima cages the bird and tries to force it to make more origami. Distraught, the warbler refuses, and Shima eventually falls asleep. When he awakens, the bird is gone; next to the cage's open lock sits an origami key. Shima finds the bird outside, building its nest in a pink flowering tree. Although Shima's change-of-heart focuses revolves around what he almost lost (fearing he "scared the bird away") rather than the pain he caused ("[t]he warbler cried and beat its wings against the cage"), Sogabe's neat, tranquil illustrations in watercolor and cut paper leave room for readers to see the whole picture. (origami-bird instructions) (Picture book. 4-7)