Joey loves things that fold, like maps, his accordion, and even his foldaway bed, so when he sees a classmate’s mother folding an origami crane, he’s captivated.
Mrs. Takimoto explains that she can teach Joey the folds, but the only way to become an origami master is with “practice and patience.” He takes the instruction seriously and practices with every piece of paper he can find, including his sister’s sheet music and his mother’s dollar bills, before being asked to stop. His neighbor friend Mr. Lopez sees Joey’s dedication and lets him fold the napkins in his restaurant in progressively more complicated shapes until the little boy finally masters the crane. On seeing the crane, a little girl is captivated. Joey offers to teach her but warns that it takes “practice—and lots of patience!” Kleber uses simple language but gives young readers great credit for understanding multiple concepts conveyed at once, and the story is all the better for it. Karas’ soulful illustrations depict Joey with brown skin and cropped, textured hair, with other characters drawn to show other ethnicities. His art shows his hand, the textured pencil, and pastel strokes evident on the page, which gives the book a gentle, handmade feel. It’s an excellent companion to Kleber’s story, which encourages patience, practice, and sharing creativity and finishes with a simple origami lesson for readers to try.
A gem. (Picture book. 4-8)