Inspired by Japanese photographs of Siberian swans, this original tale draws upon a familiar folklore motif--the transformation of a human into an animal. A renowned painter is transfixed by the beauty of a flock of flying white birds. Not feeling satisfied until he paints the swans, he journeys after them to an isolated island, nearly dying before he realizes ""that such beauty is rare and impossible to capture."" Having come to this understanding, he is transformed into a swan. The lyrical text conveys a feeling of uncluttered oriental simplicity, while the striking acrylic paintings, rendered in cool whites, smoky greys, and misty blues effectively evoke the northern Japanese setting. Graceful images of swans fill the pages--they magically emerge from the steam in a teacup and suddenly become snow-capped mountaintops. The layout is spacious and inviting; full-page paintings are interspersed with series of panels resembling decorative Japanese screens. Artful and sophisticated, this will make for a provocative reading aloud and viewing experience.