Chibi: A True Story from Japan

Grade 2-4. This true story is reminiscent of Robert McCloskey’s Make Way for Ducklings (Viking, 1941), but it’s set in modern Japan. When a duck nested beside the pool of a downtown office building to raise her young, the citizens of Tokyo became intrigued. The smallest duckling, Chibi, became the favorite of many, including the photographer Sato-san. He took it upon himself to look out for the ducks’ safety. When a terrible storm upset the calm of their newly discovered sanctuary in the moat surrounding the Imperial Palace, Chibi and two other ducklings disappeared. The people searched and worried, but happily Chibi turned up unharmed. To protect the family, gardeners built a strong duck house that still floats in the moat of the Imperial Gardens. The ducklings, depicted in watercolor and ink, have plenty of personality as they splash, dive, and learn to play follow the leader. The scenery is faithful to the city and its people. There is a one-page glossary of Japanese words used in the text. Teachers searching for curricular connections to Japan will be pleased by this offering, and it will appeal to animal lovers as well, perhaps even inspiring a visit to a local pond habitat.?Susan Middleton, LaJolla Country Day School, CA Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc
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Chibi: A True Story from Japan

Field of Interest/Specialty: East Asia
Posted On: 05/19/2011

Chibi: A True Story from Japan is a delightful children’s book about a mama duck searching for the perfect home for her brood. First, Oka-San (Japanese for mother) flies into the pool of an office park in downtown Tokyo. Mama builds her nest, seemingly ignoring the Uchibori Dori, an 8-lane avenue, that is nearby.
Soon, ten eggs hatch, with the last one being that of Chibi, the tiny duckling named by Mr. Sato, a news photographer.
Oka-San and her brood create quite a following among the office workers. But, then Oka-San decides to move her family to the Imperial Gardens. In order to make this move, Mama must lead her ducks across the busy Uchibori Dori.
The author goes on to describe this adventure and that of the terrible typhoon which wreaked havoc on the ducks. Three ducklings went missing. One came back safely, one died, and after three days, to the delight of the onlookers, Chibi returned, floating on a piece of Styrofoam.
This book was an instant hit with my second graders. I will be using it each year during my East Asian unit.