The Boy in the Garden by Allen Say
Jiro and his father arrive at Mr. Ozu’s to wish him a happy new year. As the grown-ups talk, Jiro wanders first out of the room, then into the garden where he sees a striking, unmoving large bird. As he approaches it, laughter breaks out and his father and Mr. Ozu tell Jiro it’s only a statue.
Embarrassed – with thoughts of the “Grateful Crane” story his mother just read to him, about a crane whose life was saved by a woodcutter – Jiro runs further into the expansive grounds until he comes upon a small cottage. Convinced he’s found the very woodcutter’s home, Jiro wanders in where wonderful and brave adventures await … This newest title from Caldecott Medalist Allen Say is another visual stunner.
From young Jiro first seen holding his father’s hand, looking every which way admiring the magnificent gardens he’s just entered, to his tininess (emphasized by his oversized red indoor slippers) contrasted against a wide wall of wood windows, to his bundled up and rounded form lurking as he catches his first glimpse of the crane, Say’s panels are stupendous, revealing even more of his story than his words. But to make sure you miss nothing, Say includes “The Grateful Crane” at book’s beginning so readers will know exactly what “the story that Mama read to Jiro” is when it re-appears some pages in.
Say has thought of everything to create an ultimate testament to the power of a young’s child’s imagination. Just reading his stories with our kiddies will surely stoke their creativity … not to mention fire up our wizened minds, as well!
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