From School Library Journal
Grade 3-8–For centuries, Japanese storytellers have recounted how Momotaro, the baby found inside a peach and raised by a childless couple, grew up to defeat a tribe of thieving ogres. Kano Naganobu (1775-1828), an official painter for the Shogun, depicted Momotaro's exploits on a pair of silk handscrolls. Wada has retold Peach Boy's adventures to accompany reproductions of scenes from those scrolls. The result is a handsome book that will invite older children to see this beloved story through Japanese eyes. The delicate watercolors depict the hero and his animal helpers against mist-shrouded backdrops of mountain and sea. All of the characters are small, moving through vast open spaces. Even the ogres are dwarfed by the landscape; they are presented as not-so-fearsome beings who repent their ways and voluntarily return their ill-gotten treasure. An afterword provides information about the artist and explains why the tale remains so popular. This title is not a substitute for versions aimed at younger readers, but it is an excellent supplement where authentic Japanese material is needed.–Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 2-4. Nineteenth-century silk handscrolls, painted by master Naganobu and housed in the New York Public Library's Spencer Collection, illustrate this handsome retelling of a much-loved Japanese folktale. The story bears similarities to American tall tales of heroic strongmen: an infant emerges from a peach, is dubbed Momotaro (Peach Boy) by his foster parents, and grows into a remarkable, ogre-defeating hero. Possibilities for group sharing are limited, as the handscroll segments have been scaled down to the dimensions demanded by the book's particular design and format, and the lengthy text tends to overwhelm the delicate art. Still, children unfamiliar with the story will find the text a useful gloss on the artwork. In a postscript, art historian Wada explains the symbolism of the paintings and talks about how the art was originally appreciated (the experience of viewing scrolls was "much like that of watching a movie"). Use this with Judy Sierra's Tasty Baby Belly Buttons
(2003), an adaptation of the Peach Boy story with a girl as the main character, or as art-class inspiration. Jennifer MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved