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by Rafe Martin

illustrated by Tatsuro Kiuchi



/* Starred Review */ Ten folktales, many based on Lafcadio Hearn’s collections, chosen (according to the introduction) to give readers a walk in the “moonlight of imagination” and show the “haunting beauty” of Japan’s Shinto and Buddhist-influenced tradition. Each tale is introduced by a brief poem and a delicate black-and-white watercolor, and accompanied by a full-page color painting. Stories like “Green Willow,” about a man who falls in love with a tree spirit, and “The Boy Who Drew Cats,” about a young artist with an unusual talent, are infused with a gentle magic. Many involve ghosts or other invisible beings, but none are frightening, although “Snow Woman” and “Black Hair” may bring a chill. This lyrically written collection is a wondrous introduction to tales that may be unfamiliar to many children. They have a very different feel than the works of the Grimms or Andersen–a misty serenity enhanced by the evocative paintings. Martin (with Manuela Soares, One Hand Clapping, 1995, etc.) offers informative notes at the end that bring readers back to earth after a collection that provides something of an otherworldly experience. (Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 1996)


  • ALA Notable Children’s Books: 1997


4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, Ages 9-12, Folklore, Non-fiction