A Japanese folk tale in which a lazy boy turns trickster to ensure a life of perpetual ease, but is outwitted by his long-suffering mother. Taro has earned his nickname (also the book's title) by leaving his mother to struggle for their meager living while their house deteriorates and he sleeps. One day he rouses himself enough to impersonate a god and tell their rich neighbor to marry his daughter to none other than Taro. Frightened, the neighbor visits Taro's mother, who exacts several conditions--including putting Taro to work in the merchant's storehouse. Snyder's retelling is simple and direct, distinguished by dry wit and a benign conclusion: Taro thrives after his marriage. Say's illustrations, employing watercolor and vigorous line, are authentically Japanese in style; his soft, translucent tones glow, especially in the landscape; and he wonderfully conveys emotion and humor with a few deft strokes of his pen. A satisfying tale, just right for storytelling or picture-book hour.