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-banded 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.