cover image Peach Boy

Peach Boy

William H. Hooks. Bank Street Press, $4.5 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-553-35429-4

Long ago in Japan, a poor, elderly couple discover a large peach and, in it, the child they have always desired. They name him Momotaro--Peach Boy. As he grows up, the lad vows to protect his village from the oni monsters who ``steal our things and frighten our people.'' When he is 15, Momotaro sets out to conquer the evildoers; along the way he befriends a dog, a monkey and a hawk. Together the foursome frighten the oni monsters so completely that they hand over their treasure and promise never to menace the villagers again. With their deep tones of rust, blue and purple, Otani's vibrant drawings of horrific villains and the serene Japanese countryside complement the fluid, suitably straightforward text. Part of the Bank Street Ready-to-Read series, this folktale will easily engage the interest of beginning readers--and is a winning addition to multicultural stories for the younger set. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)