Dec 2, 2011

Tree of Cranes

Tree of Cranes by Allen Say
Illustrated by Allen Say
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

     A japanese boy narrates a story about the memory of his first Christmas.  He comes home wet and chill after playing in a forbidden pond.  He knows his mother will be upset with him and as he gingerly approaches her, he finds her folding origami paper into cranes.  "Why are you making cranes?" the boy asked his mother. She explains that she wants to make a big wish. Before she explains what her wish is, she notices the boy is wet from the pond and with a frown and a silent stare, she sends him to a hot bath and bed.  The boy wonders about his mother's silence and distance and his curiosity only grows when he sees her digging a whole by a tree in the garden.  As the mom comes into the house carrying a tree they had planted to celebrate the boys birth, she explains that back in her homeland, America, they were celebrating Christmas and she wanted him to have that experience as well.  They decorate the little tree with the paper cranes and candles as the boy learns about the Christmas tradition.  Next morning, the kite he wished for as a gift is sitting by the tree.
     Tree of Cranes is beautifully illustrated.  The images as well as the text have a serenity about them.   It's a good example of personal memoir to share in the classroom, and a nice addition to a multicultural holiday library.

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