- Age Range: 6 - 9 years
- Lexile Measure: 910L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 40 pages
- Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (April 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0689807767
- ISBN-13: 978-0689807763
- Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 8.9 x 0.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #695,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Grass Sandals : The Travels of Basho Hardcover – April 1, 1997
From School Library Journal
Grade 1-6. Basho, the most revered of Japanese haiku poets, walked through many parts of the country recording his travels in diaries of prose and poetry. This picture book offers Western children a glimpse of the 17th-century poet's classic work. Each double-page spread describes, in art and text, a notable event from one of his trips, and includes one relevant haiku and one kanji, or ideograph borrowed from written Chinese. Demi's richly colored paintings, executed with Asian brushes on textured rice paper, are freer than those found in much of her previous work, with the figures larger and more expressive. Readers familiar with Basho and his haiku will find a romanticized and tidied-up portrait of the stark, austere poet who was more interested in inanimate objects than the animals that surround him in Demi's pictures. That said, the author and artist accurately convey the sensibility of a man who was famous for seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary, for maintaining his individuality while prizing community. They have created an inviting introduction to his life and language. The widespread interest in haiku and in Japanese culture make Basho's story a valuable addition to any collection.?Margaret A. Chang, North Adams State College, MA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 3^-5. This unusual picture book follows the seventeenth-century poet Basho on a journey across Japan. Based on his journal of prose and poetry, this is no travelogue, but a reflection on what the poet saw, what he did, and who he met as he traveled. With the exception of a verse by Issa, the haiku that appear in the book are Basho's own. While the text is agreeable enough, the book's page design and artwork are exceptional in their refreshing sense of freedom and spontaneity. An illustration note identifies the medium as colored ink applied with brushes, evidently on rice paper, but this doesn't begin to suggest the pictures' exquisite clarity of line and purity of color. Though surely inspired by Japanese art, the paintings are suffused with Demi's own sense of page design, decorative art, and good humor. Each double-page spread includes a segment of the story, a painting of Basho on his journey, a haiku reflecting some aspect of the text, and a word that appears in three forms: a painted Japanese character, its transliteration, and its translation into English. The Japanese characters are cogent visual expressions of concepts such as river, fire, or world. The same word appears in the haiku on that spread. A beautiful book and a fine resource for children studying haiku. Carolyn Phelan
Top Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this book very much because I loved all the places he traveled and all the creative poems he wrote. I recommend this book for all afes. It is very well written!
It liked this book because it made me feel like I was there with Basho.
I really liked this book because of its illustrations and of how well it is written. I think that this book would be good for people who like books from other countries. I also think parents would enjoy this story too!
Basho's journey is one of peace, curiosity, and observation. Along the way, lessons of simplicity, keen observation, genuine appreciation for the natural world, gratitude, promises, and respect are subtly revealed.
In addition to the story (told in prose) and well-placed haiku samples, certain pages include a unique Japanese character, pronunciation, and translation that highlights an event or observation from that part of the tale. Thus, with adult guidance, a child can learn to look into the illustrations for specific details, learn to read the text of the story and the haiku, learn to trace a Japanese character with his / her finger, and learn to speak a Japanese word. Engaged children may take their knowledge to the next level by attempting to write the characters or their own haiku.
This book definitely provides an appreciation for Japan, and it is worth reading, sharing, and discussing.
My favorite haiku sample from the text is this one:
a tiny pink crab
tickling me climbs up my leg
from glistening sea
If a school is interested in teaching children Chinese, which some are doing as a language course for grade school children, this is a very good primer. Children can practice Chinese lettering from grade school through high school, but this is more suitable for grade school.
Chinese calligraphy and learning a few Chinese words is a wonderful mental, mind-expanding exercise for children and even for adults. This opens the door for a nice afternoon project or day-off project that parents can do with their children (instead of going to the movies, or popping in a children's film).
Haikus in themselves force the mind to slow down and ponder. Both reading and writing Haikus is a beneficial experience for the mind. This provides good examples for any poetry student. Many times children's books are just as suitable for adults, we learn better when it is presented simply, as if to a child.
I'd recommend this book for any early childhood classroom to the fifth grade, or for similarly aged children at home. It can be a bonding book for parents and children.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a beautifully illustrated book with equally powerful text.Published 16 months ago by Dancing Deirdre
Beautiful illustrations, amazing story. Buy it, read it- you'll love it.Published 22 months ago by Lisa Rose
It is a wonderful book for a bilingual family. Beautifully illustrated with a classic story. My #1 gift for my Japanese friends.Published on August 9, 2014 by Kingston girl
I found this account of Basho's life, poetry and journeys a bit like a piece of modern art work; not sure exactly what the author was wanting to achieve and it seems it is for the... Read morePublished on January 24, 2011 by Dr. Leslie Mullins