Ages 4 and Up. Yuuta’s mother tries to convince his recently widowed grandfather to move in with them since he must be lonely, but he refuses. Yuuta, going along to the public baths with him, meets some of his grandfather’s friends and realizes that the man is not so alone. This gentle story is exquisitely illustrated with ink borders and watercolors in a folksy woodblock print style. The warm earth tones reinforce the Japanese setting in a wonderful way to produce a cozy book. The English translation in this bilingual production is decidely the weak link. Otherwise, this is an enjoyable tale that provides a glimpse of life in rural Japan, recognizable interactions with a grandparent, and real-life situations. (Amazon.com)
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Grandpa's Town By: Takaai Nomura Translated By: Amanda Mayer Stinchecum
A young boy, named Yuuta, and his mom visit Gen, the boys grandfather in rural Japan. They are worried that he is lonely after his wife passed away. They are trying to get the grandfather to move in with them at their homeplace. After a trip to the bathhouse with his grandfather, Yuuta finally realizes that his grandfather is not lonely at all. On their journey to the bathhouse, Yuuta meets all of the friends his grandfather encounters in the town. Youth was feeling sad that his grandfather is not moving in with he and his mom, realizes that his grandfather is surrounded by friends in his home town.
This book would be a great asset in a preschool classroom. I the beginning of the book it displays a short summary and also lists some of the characters. The characters were listed as follows: GEN - Grandfather; TOME- Fish store; GONTA - Son of Tatami the mat maker; KITSU - Tatami the mat maker; YUUTA - Grandson of Gen. Other words that were displayed were GRANDFATHERS, BATHS, LONELINESS, AND JAPAN. These words could be placed on a word wall for the children to see and their meaning before they read the book. I also liked the fact that the book was written in both languages so that the children could have a visual of Japanese writing. In Early Childhood we expose the children to many Multi Cultural things. The pictures are very authentic of the Japanese culture and a Japanese town.
After reading the book to the children, I would emphasize the Japanese writing and invite the children to try and copy it. A discussion on WHAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT THE TWO WRITINGS? WHICH WRITING DO YOU THINK IS EASIER? COULD YOU READ THE BOOK WITH OUT THE ENGLISH WORDS? WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THE BOOK? The book would be displayed in the classroom for the children to explore.
The book was originally published in Japan in 1989 under "OJIICHAN no MACHI". The first Americsan paperback edition was in 1995.
By Takaaki Nomura
Review by: Jessica Glenn- Elementary Substitute- Central PA
This story is set in rural Japan and is about a grandpa his grandson Yuuta. At the beginning of the story Yuuta and his mother try to get grandpa to move in with them after the death of grandma because they believe he is lonely. Little Yuuta goes through a day with his grandpa and they go to the bath house and he meet a lot of his grandpa’s friends in their travels. At the end of the story Yuuta realizes that grandpa is not alone or lonely.
I thought this was a good story. I liked the fact that this story has the Japanese written characters in as well as English words written on each page of the story. This story would be great to be used with children in either third or fourth grade. The story would be appropriate to teach about Japanese culture. It could be used on Respect for the Aged Day, the third Monday in September. In Japan this is a national holiday called Keiro No Hi in Japanese. The message in this book that could be taught to the students is that the way you see things isn’t actually the way it is.