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Wiseman, Adele.

Illustrated by Shizuye Takashima. Erin (Ont.), Porcupine's Quill Inc., 1988. 20pp. cloth. $12.95, ISBN 0-88984-126-8. Distributed by University of Toronto Press. CIP

Grades 2 and 3/Ages 7 and 8
Reviewed by Hazel Birt

Volume 17 Number 3
1989 May

Kenji and the Cricket is the kind of book that deserves a book award. Published with the assistance of the Canada Council and the Ontario Arts Council, the slim hard-cover book is elegant in design with nine full-page water-colour Illustrations. The poignant story of an orphan child's struggle to stay alive on the streets of Tokyo is told in a straightforward, appealing style.

Who is little Kenji? Why is he so sad?
Lonely little Kenji, What will make
him glad?
See a boy discover what he's never
Kenji finds a cricket and a mom and

Wiseman is the author of Memoirs of a Book Molesting Childhood* Kenji and the Cricket is her first children's book. Illustrator Takashima is a Canadian artist, whose paintings are in the country's leading museums and major private collections. (A Child in a Prison Camp Tundra Books, 1971), written and illustrated by Takashima, tells the story of her experiences as a child in a Canadian prison camp for Japanese Canadians. The water-colours have a Japanese flavour. Takashima used the same style of illustration for both books, although the water-colours in Kenji and the Cricket are done in a much softer, gentler mood, most suitable for the story they are depicting.

Kenji and the Cricket would be suitable for a class discussion on impoverished children in the world. Although the story is sad, it has a happy ending.

Hazel Birt, Winnipeg, Man.

*Reviewed vol. XV1/5 September 1988 p. 165.

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