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by Allen Say

illustrated by Allen Say


School Library Journal:

Gr 2–5— Say takes the ancient legend about a crane magically transformed into a woman through an act of kindness and adds another layer of mystery to the story. A brief retelling of “the Grateful Crane,” as told to Jiro by his mother, sets the scene. The rest of the book traces the child and his father’s visit to Mr. Ozu, who has a “famous garden and many treasures in his house.” Intrigued by the life-size bronze crane, Jiro investigates first the statue and then a small seemingly empty cottage on the property. When a tall, lovely Japanese lady appears, he finds himself playing out the tale. Is she the crane personified? Is he the woodcutter from the story? With the arrival of his father to take him home, he is left to ponder: Was this just a dream? The care and subtlety the artist employs to make the contemporary twist believable, in both text and illustration, is extraordinary. A final magnificent image depicts a crane flying through the night sky beneath a full moon. Carefully chosen words mesh seamlessly with dramatic and effective paintings, bringing both energy and tranquility to carry the story to its thought-provoking ending.—Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book  Art, Amherst, MA –Barbara Elleman (Reviewed October 1, 2010) (School Library Journal, vol 56, issue 10, p93)


  • Parents’ Choice Awards – Picture Books: 2010


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