The crane girl Based on Japanese folktales

Curtis Manley

Book - 2017

A boy helps an injured crane, and the good deed is rewarded with the arrival of a mysterious guest who weaves beautiful silk for the family. Includes author's note about Japanese folktales and poetry, information about red-crowned cranes, and pronunciations.

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Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room j398.20952/Manley Checked In
Folk tales
Picture books
New York : Shen's Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books Inc 2017.
Physical Description
36 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 23 x 26 cm
Main Author
Curtis Manley (author)
Other Authors
Lin Wang, 1973- (illustrator)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Lovely full-color illustrations adorn this appealing adaptation of a traditional Japanese folktale with a nontraditional ending. Original haiku is interspersed throughout, enriching the engaging story. While gathering wood on a cold winter evening, Yasuhiro hears "from the darkness an animal's sudden cry—its fear, and mine" and gently frees a crane whose leg is held in a trap. The next evening, the boy and his father, Ryota, welcome in Hiroko, a girl who appears at their house requesting to stay, as she has nowhere else to go. Offering to weave silk to bring in money, she makes the father and son promise to not enter the room while she is working. Ryota gets paid very well for Hiroko's beautiful cloth ("white silk speckled with black—tracks of winter birds") and becomes greedy. Ultimately breaking his promise to Hiroko, Ryota's actions permanently impact all their lives. The author's note provides information on Japanese poetry, crane folktales, and the red-crowned crane. Folktale collections will benefit greatly by the addition of this title. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 2–4—Snatches of haiku add depth to this story based on traditional Japanese folktales. One evening, Yasuhiro hears a noise: "from the darkness/an animal's sudden cry—/its fear and mine." He follows the sound to a crane caught in a trap and releases it. The grateful crane reappears the next evening in human form. Yasuhiro's father allows Hiroko to stay with them, but insists that she earn her place through hard work. Hiroko offers to weave cloth on the loom of Yasuhiro's late mother but only after father and son promise they won't open the door or look at her while she weaves. She produces a bolt of cloth—"white silk/speckled with black—/tracks of winter birds"—which is sold for a high price at market. Yasuhiro's father is delighted at first but grows greedy. His demands eventually reveal the secret behind Hiroko's weaving, and she flees and returns to her original form. The love that has developed between Yasuhiro and Hiroko enables Yasuhiro to become a crane as well: "matching/her wingbeats—/my heart soars." The story ends with a pair of nesting cranes. An author's note explains that reciprocity, known as on in Japanese, is at the heart of many traditional tales, along with respect for the natural world. The author's note also discusses the forms of haiku and facts about the red-crowned crane. Exquisite watercolor illustrations accompany the text. Somber landscapes depicting a harsh wintry land contrast with Hiroko's scarlet kimono. VERDICT This well-crafted tale offers students an introduction to traditional Japanese culture and folklore and should be a welcome addition in public and school libraries.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

While gathering firewood, Yasuhiro comes upon an injured crane hidden in the snow. He rescues and comforts the bird, then watches it fly away. The next night, a mysterious young girl arrives at Yasuhiro’s home seeking shelter from the cold. The boy and his father welcome the girl, named Hiroko, to stay with them. But when Hiroko notices that Yasuhiro’s father is struggling to earn money, she offers to weave silk for him to sell. After the fabric fetches a good price, the boy’s father becomes impatient for more silk, and his greed has a life-changing effect on them all. Lyrical storytelling deftly interwoven with original haiku create a magical adaptation of popular Japanese folktales—an inspirational story of friendship and the power of kindness to transform lives.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A boy helps an injured crane, and the good deed is rewarded with the arrival of a mysterious guest who weaves beautiful silk for the family.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A boy helps an injured crane, that then returns in human form to weave silk and save the boy and his father from poverty. Adapted from Japanese folktales and told in alternating prose and haiku.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A boy helps an injured crane, and the good deed is rewarded with the arrival of a mysterious guest who weaves beautiful silk for the family. Author's note discusses Japanese folktales and poetry, red-crowned cranes, and pronunciations.