cover image The Magic Fan

The Magic Fan

Keith Baker. Harcourt Children's Books, $17 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-250750-3

Yoshi, an imaginative young Japanese carpenter, builds and builds--everything he can think of, everything the townspeople need--until one day he runs out of ideas. The boy finds a magic fan floating in the sea that guides his creative impulses; it inspires him to build first a boat, then a giant kite and, finally, a bridge from one side of the village to the other. Everyone scoffs at Yoshi and his crazy ideas, until a tidal wave forces them onto the boy's bridge and they are saved from destruction. As the fan disappears in the storm Yoshi thinks he is lost, until he realizes the fan merely enabled him to have confidence in the talents he already possessed. Fan-shaped cut-out pages are splendid enhancements to this well-designed, stylish tale, though the theme is a familiar one. Ages 5-8. (Oct.)