An original fairy tale that draws extensively on Japanese culture. An emperor sends his twin sons on a quest for five eternal elements--earth, air, fire, water, cloud--each guarded by a mighty demon; the one who best fulfills the quest will be the next emperor. The warrior, Tozaemon, quickly seizes each of the five, leaving disruption and anger in his wake; his thoughtful and gentle brother, Toemon, follows after, helping the guardian demons to repair the damage and receiving their gifts in return. Tozaemon claims the inheritance, since he retains all five elements, while Toemon has used all but one of his in his work of reconciliation. But the demons have sent armies to pursue Tozaemon; and after Toemon has dispelled them by using his one remaining element plus all of Tozaemon's, the emperor recognizes his superior wisdom. In a meticulous note, Wisniewski explains how he has incorporated themes and images from medieval Japan here; the result is an exciting, well-told story that convincingly delivers its 20th-century message. The cut-paper illustrations are outstanding: bold, dramatic, in striking origami-paper colors, incorporating intricate detail and photographed so that the paper's edge provides a delicate white outline. A beautiful first book from a highly accomplished artist.