Synopses & Reviews
There was a story that Mama read to Jiro:
Once, in old Japan, a young woodcutter lived
alone in a little cottage. One winter day he
found a crane struggling in a snare and set it
When Jiro looks out the window into Mr. Ozuand#8217;s
garden, he sees a crane and remembers
Much like the crane, the legend comes to
lifeand#8212;and, suddenly, Jiro finds himself in a
world woven between dream and reality.
Which is which?
Allen Say creates a tale about many things
at once: the power of story, the allure of
the imagined, and the gossamer line between
truth and fantasy. For who among us hasnand#8217;t
imagined ourselves in our own favorite
"Caldecott Medalist Say (Grandfather's Journey), his work always painstaking and poignant, ventures tentatively into the realm of fantasy. He paints a boy named Jiro, set free to wander in the vast Japanese garden of his father's wealthy friend Mr. Ozu. In the garden's teahouse, Jiro meets a beautiful woman who promises to weave something for him, just like the crane wife in the mournful Japanese fairy tale his mother has read him. In the story, a woodcutter's marriage is ruined by his curiosity and greed. The thread of Jiro's story, though, veers eerily back and forth between the real and surreal ('My, you have a wonderful imagination,' the woman tells Jiro), and toys seductively with Jiro's puzzlement as he enters deeper into his own fantasy ('I'm the woodcutter,' he thinks, setting off into a snowy dream morning. 'I'll sell firewood and buy things to eat'). Just as sensitively, Say portrays Jiro's uncertainty in the face of his father and Mr. Ozu's hearty bluster. Pale colors and expanses of empty space contribute to the feeling of haunted charm. Did Jiro dream? Possibly-- or possibly not. Ages 5 7. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"A gently unsettling tale of the power of the imagination."and#8212;The Horn Book, starred review
"Say is at the height of his artistic achievement in this tale of a little boy named Jiro and the powerful impact that a story has on him....This is a beautiful, moving, quietly mysterious read, ripe with possibilities for interpretation and contemplation."and#8212;Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Caldecott Medalist Say (Grandfather's Journey), his work always painstaking and poignant, ventures tentatively into the realm of fantasy....Pale colors and expanses of empty space contribute to the feeling of haunted charm. Did Jiro dream? Possiblyand#8212;or possibly not."and#8212;Publishers Weekly, starred reviewand#160;
"Multilayered and compelling."and#8212;The Bulletin
Praise for other Allen Say books:
"Aficionados of Sayand#8217;s tranquil work will find both the message and the delivery deeply satisfying."and#8212;Publishers Weekly, starred review and#160; Kamishibai Man
"The quietly dramatic, beautifully evocative, tale contains a cliffhanger of its own, along with exquisite art in the style of Kamishibai picture cards that will attract even the most jaded kid away from the TV screen to enjoy a good, good book."and#8212;Booklist, starred review and#160; Tea with Milk
"A thoughtful and poignant book that will appeal to a wide range of readers, particularly our nationand#8217;s many immigrants who grapple with some of the same challenges as May and Joseph, including feeling at home in a place that is not their own."and#8212;School Library Journal, starred review and#160; Tree of Cranes
"Tree of Cranes is the achievement of a master in his prime, one of the best picture books of this or any year."and#8212;The Horn Book, starred review and#160; The Sign Painter
"In perhaps his best work to date . . . Say subtly and ingeniously blends a feeling of nostalgia with a hard-hitting immediacy. . . The images and the boyand#8217;s passion as an artist will remain with [readers]."and#8212;Publishers Weekly, starred review and#160; Grandfatherand#8217;s Journey
Winner of the Caldecott Medal and#160; "Flawless in his executions, Say has chronicled three generations of a family whose hearts have been divided between two nations."and#8212;School Library Journal, starred review
A beloved Caldecott Medalist ("Grandfather's Journey") puts a creative twist on the Japanese folktale The Crane Wife, in this magical story. Full color.
About the Author
Allen Say was born in Yokohama, Japan, in 1937. He dreamed of becoming a cartoonist from the age of six, and, at age twelve, apprenticed himself to his favorite cartoonist, Noro Shinpei. For the next four years, Say learned to draw and paint under the direction of Noro, who has remained Say's mentor. Say illustrated his first children's book -- published in 1972 -- in a photo studio between shooting assignments. For years, Say continued writing and illustrating children's books on a part-time basis. But in 1987, while illustrating THE BOY OF THE THREE-YEAR NAP (Caldecott Honor Medal), he recaptured the joy he had known as a boy working in his master's studio. It was then that Say decided to make a full commitment to doing what he loves best: writing and illustrating children's books. Since then, he has written and illustrated many books, including TREE OF CRANES and GRANDFATHER'S JOURNEY, winner of the 1994 Caldecott Medal. He is a full-time writer and illustrator living in Portland, Oregon.