This classic Japanese folktale, accompanied by stunning paintings by award-winning illustrator Gennady Spirin, gently explores the nature of love, promises, and betrayal. Osamu was a sail maker who lived high above the sea. "As he pulled the warp and weft of his sail together, he would often think to himself, How beautiful the cranes are. Of all the birds, they are the most like sails. It is as if the wind is held in their wings
." One blustery night, a large crane crashes into Osamu's door and lies stunned on his porch. The lonely sail maker nurses it back to health and watches the graceful bird soar away. When this crane returns to Osamu's door in the disguise of a beautiful young woman, the drama really begins. They fall in love, and marry, but there comes a time when there is no longer food for them to eat. Yukiko tells her husband that she can make a magic sail for him to sell in the village, but that he must promise never to look at her while she is making it, and later, that he must never expect her to make another one. Both promises are broken, and in the end, Osamu never sees her again: "He wove simple sails for the rest of his years, there at his window, gazing at the marsh and the white cranes. And each autumn, in the season of storms, he waited for a knock on his door." Spirin's moody, intricate watercolor illustrations evoke medieval Japan, and perfectly complement the spare, poetic prose of Odds Bodkin's skillful retelling. (Ages 5 and older) --Karin Snelson
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Medieval Japan provides the backdrop for the classic tale of a sail maker who nurses a wounded crane to health. "Bodkin's finely tuned version abounds with drama and emotion in its rich presentation of morals, and near-perfect pacing sets the stage for the pathos of the ending," said PW in a starred review. "Spirin's compositions, filled with Japanese motifs and period details, cast an otherworldly mood." Ages 5-up.
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