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Of Nightingales That Weep Paperback – March 7, 1989

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A colorful and romantic story of feudal Japan. Unusual andstirring." -- -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"A dramatic story, rich in emotion and in historical detail." -- -- The Horn Book

About the Author

Katherine Paterson is one of the world's most renowned children's book authors. Ms. Paterson has received the National Book Award twice and has won the Newbery Medal for both Bridge to Terabithia and Jacob Have I Loved. She is also the author of two other I Can Read Books featuring Marvin, The Smallest Cow in the World and Marvin's Best Christmas Present Ever. Ms. Paterson lives in Barre, Vermont.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 8 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 950L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reissue edition (March 7, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064402827
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064402828
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #458,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "ghettochinku" on May 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
~This story is set in Japan during the Heiji War (also called the Gempei War) between the Heike and Genji clans. Takiko is an adolescent Japanese girl born to a noble samurai, Moriyuki. When Moriyuki dies in a battle, Takiko's mother, Chieko, decides to marry an ugly country potter named Goro to support herself and her daughter. While living in Goro's household, a visiting merchant decides to take Takiko to the Emperor's court to serve Princess Aoi. There, Takiko falls in love with a handsome~~ young enemy warrior named Hideo.
The rest of the book describes how Takiko has to choose between her lover and her family, and how she learns that beauty is not everything.
I thought this book was pretty good, because the characters were defined fairly well, and the plot was interesting enough to keep me reading. But I think that this book isn't exciting enough. I don't mean that there isn't enough action, but the plot isn't the kind that keeps people on the edge of their seats. A little more~~ background information on the Heiji War would be nice, too.
The one thing that I liked a lot about this book was its twist ending. I really wasn't expecting that!~
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
Let's be upfront here. I don't know a darned thing about imperial Japan in the 12th century. So I really don't know if author Katherine Paterson meticulously studied the history and language properly. And I don't know if this book is the very essence and spirit of all things Japanese. All that I know is what I read in this book. A portrait of a spoiled samurai's daughter, "Of Nightingales That Weep" traces her journey from potter's field to palace to exile with Japan's royal family.
The book doesn't begin particularly well. The kid who wants to read this book has first to stumble through a page describing the correct pronunciation of Japanese names and, following that, a long section dedicated to the historical figures presented in the book. Kids reading this must wade through sentences like, "This intense rivalry came to its first climax during the Hogen Insurrection (1156-1159), which found the two clans supporting opposing elements within the Imperial household". I myself had more than a little difficulty getting through this section, and I'm 25. When at last, however, I stumbled through I finally got to the story itself. I can't help but wonder if the Historical Note containing this information wouldn't have been better suited to exist at the end of the story. That way, kids wouldn't immediately be put off by a complicated set of rivalries and battles of which they do not care, yet. Once they've read the story, the notes would serve to give a little background. And you really don't need these notes to read the book. I read the notes first and I couldn't keep track of what was going on anyway. Lord help the ten-year-old who does the same.
The story itself is interesting. Protagonist Takiko is proud but also given a strong point of view.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on April 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
I thought this was a pretty interesting book. In the beginning, it's about a preteen girl named Takiko who's father dies in a battle. Her mother decides to remarry to an ugly country potter. This story takes place in Japan during the Gempei War of 1180 - 1185.
While in the countryside with her mother and her new father, Goro, a merchant comes and decides to take Takiko to the imperial Japanese court to see if she can serve there. She is, and she meets a new friend, Mieko. Mieko goes almost everywhere with her and they trust each other very much.
During the war, Takiko waits for her love, Hideo, to return to her, but it always takes him a while and he doesn't exactly do what he says he is going to, only sometimes. She doesn't know if she should betray him by being loyal to the Heike or just keep it a secret. The war is between the Heike and the Genji who are fighting for control of Japan. It is a really gruesome war and a lot of blood and death is involved even though this story doesn't talk much about it.
My main point is that it is really interesting, and that you should read this book if you haven't already!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
I'm a fan of Katherine Paterson, so I was eager to read this book. It was a colorful, emotional tale about Takiko, a samurai's daughter in feudal Japan. Since it was wartime, she had to move from place to place (including a palace) to escape the adversary. On the way, she met a handsome young enemy warrior named Hideo and they fell in love. Would she choose loyalty to her dead father's cause or to forbidden romance? The choice she made affected her entire life. I wanted to love the story, but it was too tragic. Many of Takiko's loved ones died throughout the course of the novel. Hideo abandoned her, as did her beauty and wealth. However, it's a tribute to Mrs. Paterson's skill that a fictional story could arouse so much feeling in me. However, the ironic ending confused me. Why did the events turn out the way they did? Still, I reccomend this book for its vivid descriptions of feudal Japan and its skill in plucking one's heartstrings.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By N on December 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
No, I do not recommend this book. I never write reviews for books even if I really enjoy or really dislike them but... The message was loud and clear, that inner beauty is what counts and relying on the surface of oneself is not very dependable because eventually looks fade and you better have something else to fall back on. The book was good, it really was interesting to read but the end destroyed the whole meaning of the book for me. The end of the book was disturbing to me, it goes against the whole point of the book. Takiko learns that she can't rely on her looks and that she is no longer beautiful so she completely gives up her whole life. ***Spoilers*** first she tries to enter a convent because she is rejected by her lover (whom she really never knew in the first place, she was merely infatuated by him). She is rejected because she is disfigured now and ugly so she has to give up any hope of a true happy future so she tries to become a nun. That doesn't work out so she settles for her step father and marries him and has his children. That's a horrible message to give to people. If your ugly or disfigured you better give up on the fact that inner beauty is what counts and give up on your hopes and dreams because the only thing you will be able to amount to is marrying your step parent and settling. I would have rather her go back to live with Goro and meet a nice young man who valued her for all of the new skills she learned throughout the story.
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