The Seven Gods of Luck by David Kudler, Linda Finch | | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Seven Gods of Luck

The Seven Gods of Luck

4.5 2
by David Kudler, Linda Finch

View All Available Formats & Editions

"A lively adaptation of a Japanese folktale.... The well-paced, carefully plotted text has a sprightly partner in its stylized, gently colored illustrations." - School Library Journal

"A sweetly illustrated retelling" - The New York Times

Sachiko and Kenji just want to welcome the new


"A lively adaptation of a Japanese folktale.... The well-paced, carefully plotted text has a sprightly partner in its stylized, gently colored illustrations." - School Library Journal

"A sweetly illustrated retelling" - The New York Times

Sachiko and Kenji just want to welcome the new year in the proper way, but their mother tells them they don't have the money for a New Year's feast.

An act of generosity brings help from an unexpected source in this heartwarming Japanese classic.

May the Seven Gods of Luck visit you!

Fifteenth Anniversary Edition

with new notes by author David Kudler

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Kudler's first children's book offers a rather thin retelling of a Japanese folktale centering on two resourceful siblings and set on January first (the day "everyone in Japan celebrates a birthday, no matter when they were born!"). When their mother tells Sachiko and Kenji that she has no money for the holiday feast, the children try to sell homemade hair pins and hand-painted chopsticks to get money for the meal. The two find no customers, but trade their wares for straw hats they then place on statues of the Seven Gods of Luck to shield them from the snow. Predictably, the stone statues come alive to bring the youngsters the makings for a celebratory feast. Although Kudler explains that the Seven Gods offer "good fish to bring harmony, and black beans for health," readers may be disappointed not to learn more about the holiday and its relevant symbols. Finch's (Night Walk) two colorful market scenes add spice, but the majority of pictures are rendered in neutral grays and browns (including the double-page spread of the feast: beige-yellow "golden bowls" covered with the straw hats and not a hint of their contents). Except for what youngsters glean from the foreword, they will likely come away from this retelling with little understanding of the holiday or its significance for the Japanese. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
In this picture book retelling of a well-known Japanese folktale, two children decide to sell objects that are precious to them so they can buy rice for the new year's celebration. On their way to town they pass the shrine of the Seven Gods of Luck where each of the statues is covered in snow. The children stop to brush off the snow. They then bow to the statues and ask for luck to earn money so they can begin the new year properly. While the town is full of people, all are too busy to stop and buy the items the children had made. Upon seeing the hat-seller at the end of the day, they trade their chopsticks and hairpins for six hats. As they return home, they again see the snow-covered statues. This time, when they brush off the snow, they place the hats on the heads. They are one hat short, and Sachiko ties her scarf around the last statue's head. The next morning, the children and their mother awaken to the sights and smells of the feast of the Seven Gods of Luck, and they discover Sachiko's scarf draped over one of the bowls. This tale of kindness rewarded is illustrated in full color and evokes the spirit of the holiday season. An author's note at the beginning provides information on the celebration. Details of a traditional Japanese home and village are presented in the illustrations.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3A lively adaptation of a Japanese folktale. When their mother returns home on New Year's Eve without money to buy a traditional feast, Sachiko and Kenji take a few small possessions into town, hoping to sell them in the market. Walking through the falling snow, the siblings pass the Seven Gods of Luck. Brushing snow off these statues brings them no luck in the market, so they exchange their items for the inventory of an old hat-seller. On the way home, they clean the statues once more and place hats on their heads "to keep them warm and dry." This act of kindness reaps a generous reward. Yoshiko Uchida's The Sea of Gold and Other Tales from Japan (Macmillan, 1965; o.p.) contains a more traditional version of the story, in which an elderly man is the protagonist. The well-paced, carefully plotted text has a sprightly partner in its stylized, gently colored illustrations. Figures are set against ample backgrounds that celebrate the fabric designs and folk art of Japan. Economical in their expressionsthe tilt of a head, the lift of an eyebrow conveys a great dealthe pictures of the children will appeal to readers.Margaret A. Chang, North Adams State College, MA
Kirkus Reviews
The kindness and generosity of two children result in a great reward for them at New Year's in an unusual fable set in Japan.

Sachiko and her brother, Kenji, are saddened when their mother comes home empty-handed on New Year's Eve, so they decide to try to sell some hairpins and chopsticks they have made, in order to buy rice for their meal. On their way, they pass the Seven Gods of Luck—life-sized statues exemplifying virtues like wisdom, long life, and beauty—and dust the snow off them. They can't sell their things, but do trade wares with an old man, so that they can all go home for the night. They procure six straw hats that they attach to the statues—upon the seventh Sachiko bestows her scarf—to keep the gods free from snow. Their gesture prods the gods to give the family a fabulous New Year's meal in seven pots. Kudler's first book is predictable, but does reveal the stark simplicity of this Japanese household, and provides a window into traditions and daily life. Although two paintings show the children with the very wares that they have already traded away, Finch's watercolors are well done and innovative in composition, and manage to present fresh details of an unfamiliar culture in every picture.

Product Details

Stillpoint Digital Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.08(d)
Age Range:
5 Years

Meet the Author

A native of Sausalito, California (famous mostly for being the town at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge, and for having a cookie named after it), David Kudler is an author, editor and performer. Since 1999, he has overseen the publications program of the Joseph Campbell Foundation, where he has served as the managing editor of the Collected Works of Joseph Campbell series. He recently launched his own publishing firm, Stillpoint Digital Press.

He lives in Mill Valley, California (the next town north from Sausalito) with his wife, teacher and author Maura Vaughn, their two author-to-be daughters, and their non-literary cat.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Seven Gods of Luck 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My five year old loves the story--the characters of the gods especially. I like the pictures--street life in japan.
LAWonder More than 1 year ago
Present a Japanese New Year's custom to elementary age student's! This is a fun tale of a brother and  sister who when faced without the expected celebration, decided to do put forth effort to make it better. When all seemed hopeless, events took an unexpected turn. There is a few valuable lessons that are presented on unselfishness, service and perseverance. The illustrations were nicely done by Linda Finch. The are slightly dull and simple but depicts the story well.  They definitely give the audience a flair of the Orient. The story was written simply, presenting the main points clearly. After the story is told, the author ads some follow-up information which can be used for further enlightenment and discussion. This is short and perfect for children's story time. It can be purchased in a large paperback, enabling a group to easily see the pictures. It is book worthy of recommendation. My review of this book gives it a Four Stars rating. This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review, of which I have given.