MYSTERIOUS TALES OF JAPAN by Rafe Martin

MYSTERIOUS TALES OF JAPAN

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 8 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Ten folktales, many based on Lafcadio Hearn's collections, chosen (according to the introduction) to give readers a walk in the ``moonlight of imagination'' and show the ``haunting beauty'' of Japan's Shinto and Buddhist-influenced tradition. Each tale is introduced by a brief poem and a delicate black-and-white watercolor, and accompanied by a full-page color painting. Stories like ``Green Willow,'' about a man who falls in love with a tree spirit, and ``The Boy Who Drew Cats,'' about a young artist with an unusual talent, are infused with a gentle magic. Many involve ghosts or other invisible beings, but none are frightening, although ``Snow Woman'' and ``Black Hair'' may bring a chill. This lyrically written collection is a wondrous introduction to tales that may be unfamiliar to many children. They have a very different feel than the works of the Grimms or Andersen--a misty serenity enhanced by the evocative paintings. Martin (with Manuela Soares, One Hand Clapping, 1995, etc.) offers informative notes at the end that bring readers back to earth after a collection that provides something of an otherworldly experience. (notes, bibliography) (Short stories/folklore. 8+)

Pub Date: March 19th, 1996
ISBN: 0-399-22677-X
Page count: 74pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1996




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