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PINK PAPER SWANS by Virginia Kroll

PINK PAPER SWANS

by Virginia Kroll & illustrated by Nancy L. Clouse

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: July 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-8028-5081-2
Publisher: Eerdmans

 Sitting in their city apartment's shadow on hot days, Janetta is fascinated by Mrs. Tsujimoto, who makes origami so quickly that cranes ``fly right out of her hands.'' Mama always says, ``Don't you be botherin' folks''; still, the old woman once gives the young African-American girl a paper frog, which she can't reconstruct after unfolding it, and later a swan, which she treasures all winter. When Mrs. Tsujimoto doesn't appear the next summer, Janetta goes to her apartment and learns that she has arthritis: ``My fingers do not cooperate any longer.'' Worried that her neighbor can no longer make origami to sell, Janetta makes an offer: ``You be the mind. I'll be the fingers''; and after much practice, the joint venture is as successful as the new friendship. The story is rather deliberately multicultural, with Janetta's speech realistically informal (``I ain't never seen anything like it'') and her friend's home a showcase for Japanese culture; still, Kroll's nicely cadenced narrative and telling details and Clouse's attractive collages in flat origami colors soften the over-obvious intent. (Picture book/Young reader. 5-9)