Crane Girl

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It was exciting when the new baby arrived. He was tiny and soft and smelled like morning after the rain. His name was Katsumi and everybody loved him. But now there were fewer walks with mother. And now father had less time to play. Yoshiko was afraid she wasn't special any more. She was sure her parents wouldn't even notice if she went away.

Feeling that the arrival of a new baby has stopped her parents from loving her, Yoshiko goes to live among the cranes, whose ...

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Overview

It was exciting when the new baby arrived. He was tiny and soft and smelled like morning after the rain. His name was Katsumi and everybody loved him. But now there were fewer walks with mother. And now father had less time to play. Yoshiko was afraid she wasn't special any more. She was sure her parents wouldn't even notice if she went away.

Feeling that the arrival of a new baby has stopped her parents from loving her, Yoshiko goes to live among the cranes, whose magic transforms her into one of their young for a while.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When Yoshiko's brother is born (``he was tiny and soft and smelled like morning after the rain''), the girl is no longer the center of her family's loving attention. A forlorn Yoshiko asks the cranes if she might become one of them--``Then I could be your baby and dance with you. Then I would be happy.'' The girl's wish is granted; suddenly she receives all the coddling she desires, until one day she visits her human family and overhears them lamenting ``their beloved daughter, Yoshiko, and how they missed her.'' So Yoshiko becomes a human child once more, with a new understanding of the power and extent of parental affection. In an often poetic reworking of a familiar theme, Charles invests her tale with poignance and a timeless universality--despite its specific, skillfully rendered setting. (A brief afterword explains Oriental artifacts and the significance of cranes.) With meticulous brush strokes suggesting woven textures, Charles's illustrations aptly convey both a sprawling Oriental landscape and the closeness of family. Such careful touches as a single red line framing each page make this a handsomely produced version of a durable tale. Ages 3-6. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-- Sibling jealousy and folktale human-into-animal transformation are wed in this story set in Japan. Yoshiko's excitement over the arrival of her baby brother is soured by her diminished share of her parents' attention. When they give the baby a good-luck amulet indentical to hers, ``she was certain she wasn't special anymore.'' Her wish to regress leads to her transfiguration into a baby dancing crane. Eventually she revisits her family as a bird and reconsiders her departure. In a frantic effort to communicate with them, she is injured, but their attentive care convinces her of their love, and she returns to her human form. Although this tale scores high on animal and ethnic portrayal, and on sensitivity to rivalrous feelings, there are several disturbing elements, not the least of which is that the child must hurt herself to gain parental recognition. The illustrations, accented in red to match the cranes' markings, are shaky on anatomy, but the landscapes show an interestingly naive blend of Asian and Western elements. Still, the story isn't very reassuring to young children. --Patricia Dooley, University of Washington, Seattle
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780773757189
  • Publisher: Stoddart Kids
  • Publication date: 1/28/1995
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 11.06 (h) x 0.13 (d)

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