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SCREEN OF FROGS by Sheila Hamanaka

SCREEN OF FROGS

By Sheila Hamanaka

Age Range: 4 - 10

Pub Date: March 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-531-05464-0
Publisher: Orchard

 An old Japanese tale that addresses a number of contemporary concerns. As a boy, Koji scorns the peasants whose fields he views from his mountain mansion; as a lazy, self-indulgent man, he squanders his inheritance. With nothing left but ``his great house and one mountain and a lake,'' Koji is about to sell even these to pay his debts when a magical dream--a frog-woman begs him to save the wild things' habitat--persuades him to keep just the land, a futon, and a shabby, blank folding screen. His reward: real frogs become extraordinarily beautiful paintings on the screen, where they remain until Koji's death years later- -after a contented life of farming with his family, with whom he shares the land's beauty. In illustrating her smooth retelling, Hamanaka (The Journey, 1990) imaginatively combines media: collages of patterned kozo paper represent fabrics; backgrounds are rendered in swirling, subtly textured acrylics; forms are simply but exquisitely defined in the traditional broad brush strokes of Japanese painting. The three don't always blend with equal success, but the design is powerful, some spreads are lovely, and many details reward examination. A fine contribution, excellent for sharing aloud. (Folklore/Picture book. 4-10)