Fan maker Yoshi loves the delectable smell of the eels broiled by his fishmonger neighbor, Sabu. But he also loves the sound of the coins jingling in his money box, and so he never actually buys the eels, content just to smell them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Struggling to make a living selling his eels, Sabu is furious with Yoshi for his stubbornness, and demands payment for all the eels Yoshi has sniffed. Yoshi retaliates by performing a wild coin-rattling dance in the street: "chin chin jara jara... chin jara jara...." When he finishes, he tells Sabu, "You have charged me for the smell of your eels, and I have paid you with the sound of my money." Is there any hope of reconciliation for these feuding neighbors?
Adapted from the Japanese folktale "Smells and Jingles," this hilarious story shows that in business--and in life--you usually get what you pay for. Compromise often ends up being the most satisfying arrangement all around. Yumi Heo's oil, pencil, and collage illustrations are the real treasure. Readers of all ages will pore over the rich golds, greens, and reds, returning to the story again and again to savor this feast for their eyes. (Ages 4 and older) --Emilie Coulter
From Publishers Weekly
Japanese-American Kajikawa's (Sweet Dreams: How Animals Sleep) desire to learn more about her heritage led her to this humorous folktale, adapted from a collection published more than a century ago. This tale takes a story that may be familiar to readers (the baker who wishes to charge a passerby for the privilege of smelling his baked goods) one step further. Fan maker Yoshi enjoys the aroma of his next-door neighbor Sabu's grilled eels, which make Yoshi's simple meals of rice more appetizing. One day, Sabu demands that Yoshi pay for the eels that he has smelled, so Yoshi repays Sabu in kind: the fan maker shakes his box of coins, and thus offers Sabu the sound of his money. Sabu takes his revenge on his neighbor by cooking smelly fish, prompting Yoshi to make peace--and a friendship springs up between them as they both benefit from the fan maker's plan. Kajikawa's eloquent, economic prose matches the spare compositions of Heo's (Pets!; One Afternoon) pencil and oil collages, incorporating handmade Japanese paper. The energizing palette of mustard, russet and olive with blue accents adds flair to the compositions, which resemble Japanese woodblock prints, and the characters' facial expressions and body language heighten the comical moments. While young readers will be swept up in the neighbors' conflict, they will also witness a fair and resourceful solution to a seeming impasse. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
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