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The Crane Wife Paperback – October 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 4
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (October 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152163506
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152163501
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 8 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #517,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By izzyfree on December 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
"The Crane Wife" is one of those tragic Japanese love stories.
Osamu is poor sail maker and he loves to watch cranes. He thought that cranes were very special and pretty. Osamu wants a wife but because he's poor, Osamu doesn't think he could get a wife. One night, a crane came by his door and the crane was hurt. Osamu nursed it back to life and the crane left. Time passes and a lovely woman came by and she became his wife, her name is Yukiko. When Osamu and Yukiko had no more money for food, Yukiko decided to make a magic sail. She makes one and tells Osamu to sell it. When Osamu sells it, he gets enough money to last for six months. Osamu starts to get greedy but Yukiko tells her husband that making these magical sails, take too much of her. Nevertheless Osamu demands Yukio to make these sails but when Osamu demands Yukiko to make these sails, would he destroy her?
I love the pictures that come with this story. It's really detailed and very pretty and the colors made the pictures very vivid. The only thing that I hated about this story was how this story illustrates its moral of not taking things for granted. It's a tragic love story but in a way Osamu deserved it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kim Lynn on June 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think adults may appreciate this one more than the children will. I've attempted to read it to my younger sisters (ages 4 and 6) and they're just not into it. It's a beautifully illustrated book with an interesting and tragic story, and you might want to save it for those a little older.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This story is so touching and moving it is hard to forget. I borrowed it from the library a few years ago and always remembered it. When I ran into it at a book store, I bought it immediately. The book really touched me and I love the story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Heiss on June 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a fairy tale about real life. Set in Japan, poor Osamu will never marry. One stormy night, he encounters an injured crane, and takes it in, and feeds and tends it. After it heals, it flies away. And one day, another storm blows a beautiful woman to his door. He tends her and marries her, and she gives him a wonderful gift. Twice. But he wastes her love and ignores her warning.

Gennady Spirin's masterful illustrations are perfect for this story. What a joy to read a fairy tale this well-done.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lisa (Hartford CT) on October 4, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There wasn't much to the story, the art work is nice but not compelling. Still overall it was good. Amazon shipped in an envelope instead of hard packaging to it arrived slightly damaged. It got donated to the library book sale.
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