Once Upon a Time in Japan

Japan Broadcasting Corp., trans. from the Japanese by Roger Pulvers and Juliet Winters Carpenter. Tuttle, $16.95 (120p) ISBN 978-4-8053-1359-6
“Tales are the starting-place of wisdom, and their lessons are universal,” writes Pulvers in an introduction to this engaging grouping of eight Japanese folktales. As in many folktales from other traditions, wicked figures get their just deserts (a greedy fox loses its tail after conning an otter out of several meals) and kindnesses are rewarded; in one story, a young man whose magical hood allows him to understand animals uses his power to help heal an ailing merchant’s daughter, whom he eventually marries. Four artists illustrate using a variety of media (scratchboard, paint, digital college); the brevity of the stories and the dominance of the artwork give the book the feel of a picture-book compilation, though some stories (a witch with a mouth on top of her head meets a bloody end in the first tale) aren’t necessarily bedtime fare. Ages 9–12. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/2015
Release date: 09/01/2015
Genre: Children's
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