Monday, December 29, 2008

Tree of Cranes by Allen Say

It is wonderful to find a Christmas story with a totally different perspective. Christmas is not a part of Japanese religious culture and has only recently taken any prominence due to commercial pressures. Incredible as it may seem to an Australian child, the boy in this story has no idea about Christmas.

We see a young boy doing familiar things in an unfamiliar setting. Even his bath looks different. The boy watches, puzzled, as his mother transforms a small pine tree from the garden into a Christmas tree. She adds paper cranes and candles before explaining why she has done this.

I especially like books where you can ‘hear’ the voices of the characters and this is true for Tree of Cranes. You can hear the mother scolding the boy gently as she worries about him catching a chill, you can hear the boy as he feels left out when he is sent to his room and then his excitement as his mother tells the story of her childhood Western Christmas celebrations.

In the week before Christmas I read this book to a group of Year 4 students and it was great to see them settle down, relax and just enjoy and absorb this lovely story.
For more details about Allen Say check out his web site.

1 comment:

jennyhogan said...

I am going to buy this book for my library. It sounds delightful. great for multicultural and child studies