Wabi Sabi
Wabi Sabi
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Annotation: Wabi Sabi, a cat living in the city of Kyoto, learns about the Japanese concept of beauty through simplicity as she asks various animals she meets about the meaning of her name.
Catalog Number: #30097
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Inventory Sale Inventory Sale
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition Date: 2008
Illustrator: Young, Ed,
Pages: 40
Availability: Available (Limited Quantities Available / While Supplies Last)
ISBN: Publisher: 0-316-11825-7 Perma-Bound: 0-605-20823-9
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-316-11825-5 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-20823-0
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2007050895
Dimensions: 28 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Horn Book
A cat named Wabi Sabi journeys through Tokyo, asking various animals what her name means; explanations come in the form of narrative and haiku. This impressive-looking book is square, oversized, and opens upward rather than sideways. Young's collages employ large swaths of photographic images to create blocks of texture that seem to pop off the page, but the child appeal is questionable.
Kirkus Reviews
The Japanese concept of wabi sabi , or the art of finding "beauty and harmony in what is simple," is explored textually and visually in this story of a Japanese cat named Wabi Sabi who wonders what her name means when a visitor asks her mistress. "That's hard to explain," her mistress replies, initiating Wabi Sabi's quest to find a definition. Her feline pal Snowball tells Wabi Sabi her name refers to "a kind of beauty," while Rascal the dog hints it has something to do with the ordinary and simple. A confused Wabi Sabi journeys to the woods of Mount Hiei where the wise old monkey Kosho ceremoniously makes tea in an old wooden bowl to illustrate wabi sabi . Surrounded by nature, Wabi Sabi eventually understands that "simple things are beautiful" and returns home enlightened. Reibstein's plain yet poetic text, which deftly incorporates original and traditional Japanese haiku, works harmoniously with Young's deceptively simple, vertically oriented collages of natural and manmade materials to create their own wabi sabi. Simply beautiful. (notes, translations of Japanese haiku) (Picture book. 6-10)
School Library Journal
Gr-24 This ambitious picture book tells the story of a cat living in Kyoto with her master. Curious to discover her name's meaning, Wabi Sabi travels across Japan, seeking advice and explanation from a variety of sources. In an introductory note, readers learn that the name comes from a concept centered on finding beauty through simplicity. As the feline discovers that she is ordinary yet wonderful, she comes to understand the meaning of her name. It is a complex idea, and the cat's journey is an effective way of presenting it to elementary school readers. The book reads from top to bottom, like a scroll, and contains a haiku and line of Japanese verse on each spread. Young's beautiful collages have an almost 3-D effect and perfectly complement the spiritual, lyrical text. While the story of Wabi Sabi's journey will hold some appeal for younger children, this is a book to be savored and contemplated and will be most appreciated by children old enough to grasp its subtle meaning. Translations are provided for the Japanese text as well as notes on haiku and the history of wabi sabi to place the whole lovely package in context. Kara Schaff Dean, Walpole Public Library, MA
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* What's Wabi Sabi? In this story, it's the name of a brown cat, but in Japanese culture, it's a feeling that finds beauty and harmony in "the simple, imperfect, natural, modest, and mysterious." When visitors come to Kyoto, they ask the cat's owner the meaning of her name; Wabi Sabi hears it's hard to explain, so she sets off on a journey to find the answer. Each animal she visits gives a piece of the complicated puzzle. Some of the allusions are beautiful: "The pale moon resting / on foggy water. Hear that / splash? A frog's jumped in." Still, the cat is confused. But the more she looks, feels, and sees, her new affinity for the simplicity of nature and the elegance of what is brings her to her own poetry d understanding. Reibstein and Young have created a magnificent offering that is the embodiment of Wabi Sabi, incorporating all the elements listed above. Remarkably, the well-paced story is also ethereal, bringing readers, like its protagonist, to the edge of comprehension, then letting them absorb all that has come before to make their own connections. In this endeavor, the text is aided by Young's amazing collages. So lifelike are they that children will reach out to touch, and then touch again, not quite believing the art is one-dimensional. The format, which has readers opening the book lengthwise, allows extra room for embellishments like haiku by poets Basho and Shiki written in Japanese on the page and translated in an addendum. A glorious piece of bookmaking whose subject and execution will reach a wide age range.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (Mon Sep 01 00:00:00 CDT 2008)
ALA Booklist (Mon Sep 01 00:00:00 CDT 2008)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Horn Book (Wed Apr 01 00:00:00 CDT 2009)
Kirkus Reviews
New York Times Book Review
School Library Journal (Mon Sep 01 00:00:00 CDT 2008)
Wilson's Children's Catalog
Word Count: 1,250
Reading Level: 4.5
Interest Level: P-2
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.5 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 126348 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.7 / points:1.0 / quiz:Q54370
Guided Reading Level: T
Fountas & Pinnell: T

The award-winning and New York Times bestselling book about a cat named Wabi Sabi who searches for the meaning of her name

Wabi Sabi, a little cat in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Kyoto</st1:city>, <st1:country-region w:st="on">Japan</st1:country-region></st1:place>, had never thought much about her name until friends visiting from another land asked her owner what it meant.

At last, the master
Says, "That's hard to explain." And
That is all she says.


This unsatisfying answer sets Wabi Sabi on a journey to uncover the meaning of her name, and on the way discovers what wabi sabi is: a Japanese philosophy of seeing beauty in simplicity, the ordinary, and the imperfect.

Using spare text and haiku, Mark Reibstein weaves an extraordinary story about finding real beauty in unexpected places. Caldecott Medal-winning artist Ed Young complements the lyrical text with breathtaking collages. Together, they illustrate the unique world view that is wabi sabi.

A New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book for 2008!


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