THE CRANE GIRL
Retold by Veronika Charles. Reviewed by Gillian Martin Noonan.
Reviewed by Gillian Martin Noonan.
Volume 20 Number 5
Veronika Martenova Charles has produced a sensitively written and beautifully illustrated book about sibling rivalry. Set in Japan, this is the story of Yoshiko, who feels neglected by her parents after the arrival of her new brother and wanders off in search of a new family among the animals. She lives happily with the cranes as one of them until one day she chances to overhear her parents telling her brother about the precious little girl they lost.
The choice of the cranes as Yoshiko's guardians is quite fitting, given Charles' explanation in an end-note of their parental attentiveness as well as their being the Oriental symbol of parental love. Charles also makes skilful use of two other Oriental symbols - the Onamori amulet and the Dosojin. Each is carefully explained in notes at the end of the story.
Both the diction and style make this an appealing and understandable book for young audiences. The story is told from a young child's perspective without any condescension. This perspective is brought to life not only through the words but also through the pictures. Of particular note is a two-page spread where Yoshiko is talking to the monkeys hanging in trees that seem to reach the sun. Charles has captured the viewpoint of this little girl.
While this book is highly recommended for children ages four to seven, it should have a broader appeal because of the universality of its theme. An excellent choice on the topic of sibling rivalry.
Gillian Martin Noonan is a teacher - librarian living in Old Perlican, Newfoundland.
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