Taro, a little boy who lived on a small, poor island in Japan, frequently felt the pinch of his father's frugal ways. Since his father was a priest, they lived in the temple, and Taro especially regretted that the village was too poor to replace the gold leaf on the statue of Amida Buddha. His solution, right in the ""Made in Japan"" tradition, was to make dolls out of the many pieces of driftwood washed up on the beach, and he managed to drum up enough enthusiasm among the other children to get them to mass produce the figures. From the practical angle the story drifts into a wisp of fantasy, as Taro sells the dolls, rescues some soup-destined turtles with part of the proceeds, is attacked by pirates, but saved by the same turtles from drowning. Some necessary explanations have been left out--like the time the story is occurring, the requirements for a Buddhist priest, and so on. And on the whole there are too many starchy ingredients to put over this exotic dish. The brown and black ink drawings are done in commercialized Japanese style, but help to suggest the aura of the place.