From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 3-An old Buddhist priest lives a solitary life until a tanuki, or raccoon dog, comes to ask for shelter during a storm. For 10 years these nightly visits continue. Finally the tanuki insists on repaying the kindness, so the priest asks for some gold to pay for prayers to be said for him so he can enter Paradise after his death. When the small creature does not return for several seasons, the man becomes worried. He realizes that the tanuki's greatest gift was that of his friendship, and is overjoyed when the animal returns. This simple tale is illustrated with ink, watercolor, and cut paper in a somewhat abstract Japanese style. Although both the story and the art are understated, the book has a strong and lasting message.Nancy A. Gifford, Schenectady County Public Library, NY
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
K-Gr. 3. Myers adapts a traditional Japanese tale involving the friendship between a Buddhist priest and a magical raccoon-dog creature, a tanuki.
The characters meet when the nearly frozen tanuki appears at the priest's door, begging for shelter. The man gladly obliges, and the two develop a friendly rapport. When the tanuki insists on demonstrating his thanks, the priest admits that a gold offering might help him enter Paradise. The tanuki then disappears, returning many months later with the gold. By that time, however, the priest has realized that the true gift is the friendship. Roth's mixed-media paintings feature traditional Japanese textile patterns and household objects that lend an authentic feel to the story. As befitting a folktale, the text is simple and direct, and Myers carefully notes his sources. Although this version ends before the tanuki's death (which is the conclusion of most Japanese retellings), Myers argues that the essence of the story is the discharge of the debt, and that his ending makes the story more palatable for contemporary youngsters. Indeed, this is a gentle fable, suitable for both story hours and lap-sharing. Kay WeismanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved