From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 4-In medieval Japan, an artist longs to capture the spectacular natural surroundings and diverse wildlife of Lake Biwa. No matter how hard Kogi tries, his paintings always seem to lie stiff and dead upon the paper. Seeking an ineffable quality he cannot seem to achieve, he wades into the water and finds himself transformed into a golden carp. For days, Kogi revels in the delicious freedom of swimming in the great lake. Unfortunately, he becomes hungry, and though his human mind knows better, he takes a baited hook and soon finds himself lying below a cook's knife. Sogabe uses a solid black spread, shot with a red line that looks like exploding barbed wire, to show the moment of Kogi's piscine death. The painter wakes to find that his wandering spirit has returned to his human body. His dream opens floodgates of creativity and now his paintings are endowed with energy and vitality. Partridge's spare, poetic recasting of a Japanese folktale ends with the artist and his creations coming to life again as fish. Dignified and handsome, Sogabe's carefully composed cut-paper art employs muted colors to bring Kogi's inner and outer worlds to life. An informative source note traces the history of the story. This enticing version of a Japanese tale stands out as a compelling read-aloud.Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.