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The TALE Of The MANDARIN DUCKS. Hardcover – 1990
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The Amazon Book Review
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A beautiful mandarin duck is captured and caged by a greedy lord who wants to show off the bird's magnificent plumage. But the wild creature pines for his mate. When Yasuko, the kitchen maid, releases the bird against her lord's command, she and the one-eyed servant, Shozo, are sentenced to death. The grateful bird intends to return their kindness, but can he outsmart the cruel lord?
Winner of the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for Illustration, and a New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book of the Year. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
In another picture book retelling of a Japanese folktale, Paterson ( The Tongue-Cut Sparrow ) recounts the story of Shozo, a one-eyed Samurai unjustly forced to be a servant, and Yasuko, a kitchen maid. They befriend a mandarin duck who pines for his mate while kept in captivity by a fearsome lord. When Yasuko releases the duck, both servants are sentenced to death, but they are subsequently saved by two mysterious imperial messengers who care for them throughout the night and disappear, leaving in their place the two mandarin ducks. Yasuko and Shozo live happily from that time on because "as they had learned years before, trouble can always be borne when it is shared." Paterson's story is rich with magic, compassion and love. The Dillons' elegantly detailed watercolor and pastel drawings, in the style of 18th-century Japanese woodcuts, are exquisite. Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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For me, though, this book goes way beyond reasonable standards, well into the things I favor in a very personal and subjective way. I take immense pleasure ukiyo-e prints, the classical Japanese woodcut style that these modern artists imitate. I first saw the picture of the sleeping couple as a greeting card, and found it affectionate and romantic, with a tiny chaste hint of very grown-up love - that image led me to hunt this book down. The one-eyed samurai has meaning in my family, too. And the "madarin ducks" of the title, traditional symbols of fidelity, have a strong and affectionate significance for me for utterly personal reasons.
So I recommend this book to anyone with a read-to-me kid. It's very easy for anyone to like. For me, though, a striking set of coincidences make this a truly memorable work.
Sybil Blazej-Yee, Librarian and Artist and
Children's Book Author
A pair of ducks lived near a pond on land in the district of a cruel lord, who liked to surround himself with beautiful things, and disliked all things not beautiful. Among the things he'd come to dislike was Shozo, who had once been the lord's mightiest samurai. Shozo lost an eye in battle and was not handsome, but he was a compassionate man. When the lord saw the drake, the more attractively colored duck, he decided to take him home as a pet. In captivity, the duck withered and became ugly, missing his mate, so a maid set him free. The lord blamed Shozo, and punished him, but Shozo did not mind so much - he had fallen in love with the maid. Eventually ordered put to death, the pair are saved by mysterious Imperial messengers and live in peace, knowing that a burden is lighter when it is shared.
A superb book for kids, who will enjoy the story while learning about compassion and caring. The back of the book says ages 5-9; that's fairly accurate, but a lot of 5 year olds will need a bit of help to understand it. By the time the reader is 9, the few big words won't seem so intimidating.