MIEKO AND THE FIFTH TREASURE by Eleanor Coerr

MIEKO AND THE FIFTH TREASURE

Age Range: 8 - 11
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 The Japanese calligrapher's ``four treasures'' are brush, paper, inkstick, and inkstone; the ``fifth'' is a beauty of heart informing the brushstrokes and bringing word-pictures to life. It is this that Mieko, at ten a talented student of the art, fears she has lost after her hand is injured in the atomic blast that destroyed Nagasaki. Bitterly ashamed of her disfigured hand (and soul), overwhelmed by homesickness (she's been sent to her grandparents in the country), Mieko is most despondent because she can no longer paint. In time, the encouragement of her elders--and especially of a gentle new friend--help draw her out of her pain and isolation and she begins to paint again. As in Coerr's well- loved biographical Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes (1977), the horrors of the bombing are not dwelt on here; again, the subtler underlying menace is a child's vulnerability to war. In contrast to Sadako's valiant, doomed struggle, Mieko's fictional experience is one of healing and renewed hope, expressed in the same quiet, economical prose. Since the stakes are not as high--Mieko is never in mortal danger--the story is less stirring. Still, this has its own message about the paradoxical fragility and resilience of the human spirit. Calligraphy by Cecil Yuehara not seen. (Fiction. 8- 11)

Pub Date: April 21st, 1993
ISBN: 0-399-22434-3
Page count: 78pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1993