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WABI SABI by Mark Reibstein Kirkus Star

WABI SABI

By Mark Reibstein (Author) , Ed Young (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-316-11825-5
Publisher: Little, Brown

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)