Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Yoko's Paper Cranes

Yoko's Paper Cranes

Rosemary Wells
Illustrator:   Rosemary Wells 
Picture Book  Series
For ages 5 to 7
Hyperion, 2009   ISBN: 978-1423119845

When Yoko was still a very little kitten she and her grandmother, Obaasan, used to feed the cranes in the garden pond. The cranes were not there all year round and Yoko's grandfather, Ojiisan, taught her how to make origami paper cranes.

When she was older Yoko and her parents left Japan and went to live in America. Every week Yoko and her parents got a letter from Obaasan and Ojiisan, and every week they wrote back.

One winter Yoko decides to send her Obaasan a birthday present. She does not have any money to spend so she comes up with a plan to make her grandmother a special gift. She knows that Obaasan will be eagerly waiting for the cranes to come back to her garden so she makes some paper canes for her as a surprise. At least she will have her colorful paper cranes to look at until the snow melts and the cranes came back.

In this delightful and beautifully illustrated picture book Rosemary Wells explores the way in which a little girl is able to stay in touch with family members who live far away. Yoko does not forget what her grandfather taught her and she uses the skill he gave her to give her grandmother something precious.

The gorgeous multimedia illustrations in this book are touched with gold leaf and are set off to great effect using, among other things, origami and washi papers. The combination of the artwork and the meaningful message in the story makes this book a treasure to enjoy again and again.