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Grass Sandals : The Travels of Basho Hardcover – April 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Lexile Measure: 910L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (April 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689807767
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689807763
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.7 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #317,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-6. Basho, the most revered of Japanese haiku poets, walked through many parts of the country recording his travels in diaries of prose and poetry. This picture book offers Western children a glimpse of the 17th-century poet's classic work. Each double-page spread describes, in art and text, a notable event from one of his trips, and includes one relevant haiku and one kanji, or ideograph borrowed from written Chinese. Demi's richly colored paintings, executed with Asian brushes on textured rice paper, are freer than those found in much of her previous work, with the figures larger and more expressive. Readers familiar with Basho and his haiku will find a romanticized and tidied-up portrait of the stark, austere poet who was more interested in inanimate objects than the animals that surround him in Demi's pictures. That said, the author and artist accurately convey the sensibility of a man who was famous for seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary, for maintaining his individuality while prizing community. They have created an inviting introduction to his life and language. The widespread interest in haiku and in Japanese culture make Basho's story a valuable addition to any collection.?Margaret A. Chang, North Adams State College, MA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 3^-5. This unusual picture book follows the seventeenth-century poet Basho on a journey across Japan. Based on his journal of prose and poetry, this is no travelogue, but a reflection on what the poet saw, what he did, and who he met as he traveled. With the exception of a verse by Issa, the haiku that appear in the book are Basho's own. While the text is agreeable enough, the book's page design and artwork are exceptional in their refreshing sense of freedom and spontaneity. An illustration note identifies the medium as colored ink applied with brushes, evidently on rice paper, but this doesn't begin to suggest the pictures' exquisite clarity of line and purity of color. Though surely inspired by Japanese art, the paintings are suffused with Demi's own sense of page design, decorative art, and good humor. Each double-page spread includes a segment of the story, a painting of Basho on his journey, a haiku reflecting some aspect of the text, and a word that appears in three forms: a painted Japanese character, its transliteration, and its translation into English. The Japanese characters are cogent visual expressions of concepts such as river, fire, or world. The same word appears in the haiku on that spread. A beautiful book and a fine resource for children studying haiku. Carolyn Phelan

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In the story Grass Sandals, there is a Japanese man named after a banana tree called basho. Basho loved nature so much that he wrote about it as a haiku poet. He lived in his small house in Edo surrounded by the morning glories in the 1600's. But one day, Basho decides he wants to travel because he is restless back at his home in Edo. Before his trip, Basho's friends give him supplies for his trip including grass sandals. On the trip he writes about what he sees, meets friends, and discovers different places in this adventurous book!

I enjoyed this book very much because I loved all the places he traveled and all the creative poems he wrote. I recommend this book for all afes. It is very well written!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I read the book Grass Sandals. The main character is Basho. In the story, Basho travels all over Japan. He lives in Edo. The story takes place in the 1600's. Basho wrote poems about nature and by listening and looking at his surroundings.

It liked this book because it made me feel like I was there with Basho.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Grass Sandals is a great book about friendship and poems. The main character's name is Basho. Basho liked to have tea on his porch every morning under his basho tree. Basho lives in Edo. Basho likes to travel around his country. When Basho is traveling he gets many gifts from his friends. Basho is great for his blue grass sandals (from his friend) and for haikus. This story took place 300 years ago in Japan.

I really liked this book because of its illustrations and of how well it is written. I think that this book would be good for people who like books from other countries. I also think parents would enjoy this story too!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Arcturus70 on May 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a huge haiku fan, and it was that interest that lead me to this little book. Grass Sandals: The Travels of Basho offers a beautiful, multi-sensory introduction to Japanese literature and ancient Japanese culture. Indeed the peaceful, flowing artwork looks like fine paintings rather than images in a children's story, and thick, full pages speak for the book's quality.

Basho's journey is one of peace, curiosity, and observation. Along the way, lessons of simplicity, keen observation, genuine appreciation for the natural world, gratitude, promises, and respect are subtly revealed.

In addition to the story (told in prose) and well-placed haiku samples, certain pages include a unique Japanese character, pronunciation, and translation that highlights an event or observation from that part of the tale. Thus, with adult guidance, a child can learn to look into the illustrations for specific details, learn to read the text of the story and the haiku, learn to trace a Japanese character with his / her finger, and learn to speak a Japanese word. Engaged children may take their knowledge to the next level by attempting to write the characters or their own haiku.

This book definitely provides an appreciation for Japan, and it is worth reading, sharing, and discussing.

My favorite haiku sample from the text is this one:

a tiny pink crab
tickling me climbs up my leg
from glistening sea
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Keneau Arnet on July 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brief but splendid. Buy this book. A wonderful adult message couched for the seeking child within.
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