WABI SABI by Mark Reibstein
Kirkus Star


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 10
Email this review


The Japanese concept of wabi sabi, or the art of finding “beauty and harmony in what is simple,” is explored textually and visually in this story of a Japanese cat named Wabi Sabi who wonders what her name means when a visitor asks her mistress. “That’s hard to explain,” her mistress replies, initiating Wabi Sabi’s quest to find a definition. Her feline pal Snowball tells Wabi Sabi her name refers to “a kind of beauty,” while Rascal the dog hints it has something to do with the ordinary and simple. A confused Wabi Sabi journeys to the woods of Mount Hiei where the wise old monkey Kosho ceremoniously makes tea in an old wooden bowl to illustrate wabi sabi. Surrounded by nature, Wabi Sabi eventually understands that “simple things are beautiful” and returns home enlightened. Reibstein’s plain yet poetic text, which deftly incorporates original and traditional Japanese haiku, works harmoniously with Young’s deceptively simple, vertically oriented collages of natural and manmade materials to create their own wabi sabi. Simply beautiful. (notes, translations of Japanese haiku) (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-316-11825-5
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2008


ChildrenMIGHTY MOBY by Ed Young
by Ed Young
ChildrenNIGHTTIME NINJA by Barbara DaCosta
by Barbara DaCosta
ChildrenA STRANGE PLACE TO CALL HOME by Marilyn Singer
by Marilyn Singer


ChildrenI AM TAMA, LUCKY CAT by Wendy Henrichs
by Wendy Henrichs
ChildrenFIRST LIGHT, FIRST LIFE by Paul Fleischman
by Paul Fleischman
ChildrenTHE BLUE POOL OF QUESTIONS by Maya  Abu-Alhayyat
by Maya Abu-Alhayyat
ChildrenTHE SOUND OF SILENCE by Katrina Goldsaito
by Katrina Goldsaito