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by Allen Say

illustrated by Allen Say


School Library Journal:

/* Starred Review */ Gr 1-5 –An elderly kamishibai (paper theater) man decides to return to the city and spend the day on his former rounds. His wife makes candies for him, just as in the past, and he sets off on his bicycle. Things have changed–there’s traffic with honking horns and he wonders, “Who needs to buy so many things and eat so many different foods?” when he sees the shops and restaurants replacing beautiful trees that have been cut. He sets up his theater and begins to tell his personal story of being a kamishibai man in a flashback sequence. Soon he is surrounded by adults who remember him and his stories from their youth. Ironically, that night he is featured on the news on television–the very technology that replaced him. Say’s distinctive style and facial expressions are especially touching. A foreword gives readers a glimpse of the importance of the kamishibai man in the author’s early life, and an afterword provides a historical look at the forgotten art form. The power of the story and the importance of the storyteller are felt in this nostalgic piece that makes readers think about “progress.” Those interested in storytelling and theater will be especially impressed with this offering, but it will have broad appeal.–Helen Foster James, University of California at San Diego –Helen Foster James (Reviewed October 1, 2005) (School Library Journal, vol 51, issue 10, p128)


  • ALA Notable Children’s Books – Middle Readers Category: 2006
  • Parents’ Choice Awards – Picture Books: 2005


1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, Ages 0-8, Folklore