Kamishibai man

Allen Say

Book - 2005

After many years of retirement, an old Kamishibai man--a Japanese street performer who tells stories and sells candies--decides to make his rounds once more even though such entertainment declined after the advent of television.

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Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room jE/Say Checked In
Subjects
Genres
Picture books
Published
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Company 2005.
Language
English
Item Description
"Walter Lorraine books."
Physical Description
unpaged : col. ill
ISBN
0618479546
9780618479542
Main Author
Allen Say (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

/*Starred Review*/ Gr. 1-3. In a foreword, Say explains that Kamishibai means "paper theater" and that years ago Kamishibai men were itinerant storytellers who traveled around Japan on bicycles with a big, wooden box mounted on the back seat. The box contained a miniature theater, and beneath it were drawers of candy that the performer sold to eke out a living. As a storyteller spun his tale, he used picture cards to illustrate dramatic points, finishing each time with a cliffhanger designed to entice the children in his audience to come back another time to hear the continuation of the story. Say's lovely new book is about an elderly Kamishibai man, long retired, who, missing his rounds, decides to pedal back to the old neighborhood for one last performance. The story-within-a-story that emerges reveals why this unique type of performance art has all but disappeared. The quietly dramatic, beautifully evocative tale contains a cliffhanger of its own, and its exquisite art, in the style of Kamishibai picture cards, will attract even the most jaded kid away from the TV to enjoy a good, good book. ((Reviewed September 15, 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Caldecott-winner Say (Grandfather's Journey ) has often written about children adrift between the cultures of East and West. Here, he imagines an old man straddling past and present. The kamishibai man of pre-war Japan brought to neighborhood children cliff-hanger tales, storyboard paintings and homemade sweets. Say's retired kamishibai man--lean and spare, with a face full of kindness--decides one day to return to his old route, familiar landmarks of the city having disappeared under a blanket of asphalt. This time, he tells a new story: his own. "Ah, yes, I can see you now, all your bright faces," he remembers, "clasping coins in your little hands... Patience, everyone! You'll get your sweets." When television arrived, he recalls, his once-eager listeners disappeared, too. "One day a little girl poked her head out the window and shushed me." As he talks, and passersby realize who he is, a great crowd gathers around him--"We grew up with your stories!" "Tell us 'Little One Inch' again!" Say's gift is to multiply themes without struggling under their weight. Aging, cultural change, the way humans seem to lose warmth with technological advances--he gestures toward all of these while keeping the lens tightly focused on the kamishibai man. Readers who worry that Say may be thinking about the fate of his own career should be reassured; his artistry and power of invention are as strong as ever, and so will be his readers' enthusiasm. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) [Page 63]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 1-5 -An elderly kamishibai (paper theater) man decides to return to the city and spend the day on his former rounds. His wife makes candies for him, just as in the past, and he sets off on his bicycle. Things have changed-there's traffic with honking horns and he wonders, "Who needs to buy so many things and eat so many different foods?" when he sees the shops and restaurants replacing beautiful trees that have been cut. He sets up his theater and begins to tell his personal story of being a kamishibai man in a flashback sequence. Soon he is surrounded by adults who remember him and his stories from their youth. Ironically, that night he is featured on the news on television-the very technology that replaced him. Say's distinctive style and facial expressions are especially touching. A foreword gives readers a glimpse of the importance of the kamishibai man in the author's early life, and an afterword provides a historical look at the forgotten art form. The power of the story and the importance of the storyteller are felt in this nostalgic piece that makes readers think about "progress." Those interested in storytelling and theater will be especially impressed with this offering, but it will have broad appeal.-Helen Foster James, University of California at San Diego [Page 128]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

After many years of retirement, an old Kamishibai man--a Japanese street performer who tells stories and sells candies--decides to make his rounds once more even though such entertainment declined after the advent of television.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Having ridden into town to sell his candy and tell his story for year, the Kamishibai man is sadden to discover that the television has replaced his important place in the community, yet when years pass and he decides to make one final trip in order to tell his story to those who would listen, the old man gets the surprise of his life when familiar faces suddenly appear in the crowd.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The Kamishibai man used to ride his bicycle into town where he would tell stories to the children and sell them candy, but gradually, fewer and fewer children came running at the sound of his clappers. They were all watching their new televisions instead. Finally, only one boy remained, and he had no money for candy. Years later, the Kamishibai man and his wife made another batch of candy, and he pedaled into town to tell one more story—his own. When he comes out of the reverie of his memories, he looks around to see he is surrounded by familiar faces—the children he used to entertain have returned, all grown up and more eager than ever to listen to his delightful tales. Using two very different yet remarkable styles of art, Allen Say tells a tale within a tale, transporting readers seamlessly to the Japan of his memories.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

The Kamishibai man used to ride his bicycle into town where he would tell stories to the children and sell them candy, but gradually, fewer and fewer children came running at the sound of his clappers. They were all watching their new televisions instead. Finally, only one boy remained, and he had no money for candy. Years later, the Kamishibai man and his wife made another batch of candy, and he pedaled into town to tell one more story'his own. When he comes out of the reverie of his memories, he looks around to see he is surrounded by familiar faces'the children he used to entertain have returned, all grown up and more eager than ever to listen to his delightful tales. Using two very different yet remarkable styles of art, Allen Say tells a tale within a tale, transporting readers seamlessly to the Japan of his memories.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

The Kamishibai man used to ride his bicycle into town where he would tell stories to the children and sell them candy, but gradually, fewer and fewer children came running at the sound of his clappers. They were all watching their new televisions instead. Finally, only one boy remained, and he had no money for candy. Years later, the Kamishibai man and his wife made another batch of candy, and he pedaled into town to tell one more story—his own. When he comes out of the reverie of his memories, he looks around to see he is surrounded by familiar faces—the children he used to entertain have returned, all grown up and more eager than ever to listen to his delightful tales. Using two very different yet remarkable styles of art, Allen Say tells a tale within a tale, transporting readers seamlessly to the Japan of his memories.