Basho and the River Stones
Starred Review. Grade 1-4-A magical fox learns an important lesson in this original trickster tale. Disguised as a monk, he offers Basho, Japan’s most revered poet, three gold coins if he agrees to give all of the cherries from his tree to the neighboring foxes. When the coins turn into river stones, the mischievous creature awaits the impoverished poet’s angry outburst. However, Basho’s profound appreciation of the stones’ beauty takes the form of a haiku, which humbles the animal. Chagrined, he tries to give Basho three real coins, which the man summarily refuses. The fox uses his wiles to repay the poet in yet another transmogrification, and they live companionably from that day on. Han’s watercolors are adept at capturing the beauty of the Japanese countryside, the serenity of Basho’s hut, and the cunning expression of the fox/monk. Stylized frames separate the text from the lush backgrounds of shade-dappled pastoral scenes and striking kimono-silk patterns. The description of haiku on the title page and the appended author’s note about Matsuo Basho provide just the right amount of supplemental information. Myers’s storytelling background is apparent in the pacing of the tale and in the carefully selected, descriptive narrative. An exotic and eye-catching addition to storytimes.-Carol Ann Wilson, Westfield Memorial Library, NJ Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books