First published in 1983, this stunning adaptation of the Japanese legend of the Crane Wife by three-time Caldecott Honor-recipient Molly Bang is set in nineteenth-century New England. After a shipbuilder rescues an injured goose, a mysterious woman arrives offering to work as a sail maker. She weaves sails of unparalleled quality and the two soon fall in love. But when a rFirst published in 1983, this stunning adaptation of the Japanese legend of the Crane Wife by three-time Caldecott Honor-recipient Molly Bang is set in nineteenth-century New England. After a shipbuilder rescues an injured goose, a mysterious woman arrives offering to work as a sail maker. She weaves sails of unparalleled quality and the two soon fall in love. But when a rich man orders a set of special sails, their happiness is threatened by an astonishing secret....
|Number of Pages||:||32 Pages|
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a wondrous story. the remarkable pictures supply a secret text, so that when story reveals it's magic, the child who has taken in the details will already know. In this, it seems to mirror all the things that children know without being told, and before they have a language with which to tell us what they know. unusual in many ways - the open-ended note on which the book ends is, well , un-american:> - and a surprising tribute to the strength and resolve that we so rarely give children credit for. her father and i read this with my daughter when she was small. it has stayed with me as few books of any kind have, growing in metaphoric power and sweetness.
Well, I guess I’m in the minority with this one. Not for the overly sensitive. Too depressing. Too horrifying. Too disturbing. For me. Even though I knew what was coming, until the last few pages, I did get some enjoyment from both the story and illustrations, but not enough to make the reading experience worthwhile for me.
Here is my blackboard response on Dawn and The Crane Wife, two traditional tales on the same theme that were quite relevant and depressing after screwing up big time with a physically and intellectually beautiful girl this summer.What They Were About (NECESSARY SPOILER ALERTS)The Crane WifeRetold by Odds Bodkin, The Crane Wife is a Japanese story of "…a lonely sail maker named Osamu" who longs for a wife but has nothing more than "…one rice steamer, one pot for making tea, and little else" but a great view of the white cranes that fly near his house "…built high upon the sea." Anyways, one evening in the fall, Osamu is awakened at night by a great crane that flies into his door. Osamu nurses the crane back to health in three days and then watches it fly away. Following the passage of some time, Osamu hears a knock on his door during a great storm. He is surprised to find a lovely, young lady with striking, black eyes like the crane at the door. Osamu invites the woman into his house but only learns that her name is Yukiko. Following the passage of even more time, Yukiko remains at the surprised Osamu's house, and eventually a "…a love grew between them" and the two are married. Even though Osamu has found his wife, he knows that he is still a poor, old sail maker. Showing her love for her husband, Yukiko tells Osamu that she will weave a magic sail for him that he could sell for gold as long as he promises not to look at her while she works on the gift. Osamu agrees, and a tired Yukiko works through the night on the sail, which is then sold for sixth months worth of gold. Osamu and Yukiko live happily ever after, that is, for six months until all of their money has run out, prompting Osamu to ask his wife to weave him another sail. Despite her reluctance, Yukiko is loyal to her husband and weaves another sail on the promise that he won't look at or ask her to weave a third sail. Once again, a tired Yukiko makes the magic sail, which Osamu sells for enough gold for sixth months. Rinse. Wash. Repeat. The money eventually runs out, and Osamu is offered "a lifetime's gold" by a rich ship captain who wants him to weave another magic sail. With his head cluttered by greed, Osamu orders his wife to make him another magic sail, despite her protests that "they take so much from me." Ever faithful, Yukiko agrees to weave the sail, as long as her husband doesn't look. As his wife takes days to work on the sail, Osamu begins to wonder why he can't learn to weave a magic sail, which he rationalizes would save his wife from having to do it in the future. Breaking his promise, Osamu enters the room as his wife works on the sail, only to find the white crane that he had saved weaving the loom with her feathers. With sad, black eyes and feathers trembling, the crane flies away for good. Osamu is left alone for the rest of his days, weaving simple sails and waiting "…f or a knock on his door."DawnA freely adapted version of The Crane Wife, Molly Bang's Dawn is set in 19 th century New England, with the story beginning as a father and his daughter Dawn sit in rocking chairs on the front porch of their home. The father starts telling the daughter a story about how he used to build ships "…a long time ago" from straight and tall trees. One day while looking for wood in the swamp, the father came upon a wounded Canada goose, which had been shot and was sitting still in the water with a broken wing. Like The Crane Wife, the man nurses the wounded bird back to health, this time in weeks rather than days, until the goose flies away as healthy as ever. Following the passage of some time, the shipbuilder is surprised when a beautiful, young woman arrives and asks him if he needs a sail maker. Who would have guessed it but the shipbuilder needs a sail maker, though he "…never thought I'd find one like her." Anyways, the young woman turns out to build the "…finest and toughest" sails around. Eventually, the man and woman get married, with Dawn born out of their love. With his extremely happy family in place, the father builds a sailboat, which his wife/Dawn's mom caps off with one of her well-crafted sails, which are so well-received that people call them the "Wings of Steel" and a rich man eventually propositions the father to make such sails for his racing schooner. Despite Dawn's mother saying that she would not make the "Wings of Steel" for the man, since "…she only made that cloth once, for us, and she couldn't do it again," the father eventually convinces his wife to do so. Finally agreeing, the wife makes the husband promise that he will not come into the room while she is weaving the sails. With the boat due on the first of August, both the husband and wife get to work; however, by early June, Dawn's mother is becoming very weak, just as she predicted when she warned Dawn's father that the sails "…would take too much out of her." With the deadline looming, Dawn's father gets angry that his now-frail wife is taking so long; however, he is reassured that she will finish as long as he doesn't bother her. Down to the wire in the last three days, Dawn's father realizes the error of his ways, feeling guilty about making his wife work so hard on the sails. As the rich man arrives for the sails a half hour before they are due, Dawn's father loses patience and breaks his promise, going into the room while his wife is working. Dawn's father sees no other than a Canada goose at the loom, "plucking the last feathers from her breast and weaving them into sailcloth." A bunch of geese then fly into the room and carry Dawn's mother off. After noting that he hasn't seen his wife since that day, the father is reassured by Dawn that she will set sail on the family's sail boat and bring Mother back.Response: What a sad story about loss, though I found Molly Bang's adaptation more powerful as it tapped into the guilt of the father, who laments the behavior that cost him his wife. Just prior to telling Dawn about when he broke the promise, the father asks " Why couldn't I have waited?" and then shares the extremely private and haunting revelation that "What I saw there, Dawn, I've seen every night since. I'll see it until I die." Talk about some gut-wrenching, mind-boggling grief that will make a man, left alone with nothing but the thoughts in his mind, go crazy.In comparison, the pain of loss is much more subtle yet still sadly present in The Crane Wife, with Bodkin ending the story with the haunting image of Osamu waiting "…for a knock on his door." It's safe to say that that knock is never coming, though Dawn spins a more positive ending with the hope that Dawn will find her mother on the sailboat.As this folktale has been traditionally titled The Crane Wife and told around the bird turned woman, I really appreciated the new slant that Bang gives the story, specifically with the title being the name of the child and the word "Dawn" holding some powerful symbolism, specifically the hope that a new day will emerge when the father, daughter and mother will reunite and be happy again. Of course, I still felt uneasy at the end of the story that the mother is never going to return, but at least there's some sort of hope, even if it's coming from a naive yet still brave child. Yet as an adult (in name only), I know that there will be no happy ending to either version of this folktale, making the overall lesson of not letting material concerns cloud the good things you have even more prescient.While both stories were beautifully told through simple storytelling and incredible illustrations, I cannot help but feel as if I had been punched in the gut at the end of each tale, making me think of two of my favorite songs of all time, one from the late Jeff Buckley and another from the great Jason Lytle of Grandaddy. Anyways, I think both of these songs sum up the regret, pain, longing and what ifs of this folktale quite well, especially these lyrics from Buckley:"Sometimes a man gets carried away, when he feels like he should be having his funAnd much too blind to see the damage he's doneSometimes a man must awake to find that really, he has no-one."OUCH!Relating these lyrics to the stories, at least the father in Dawn has Dawn. As for Osamu in The Crane Wife, all he has are the simple sails that he makes. That's pretty freaking depressing to me.Additionally, the end of this folktale makes me think of the conclusion to The Godfather, Part III, when the old Michael Corleone falls off his chair and dies a lonely man in Italy after living the last years of his life in regret for what the life he chose did to his family, specifically the death of his daughter.Specifics: Both The Crane Wife and Dawn are built around the same motif: a tradesman is awarded for his sensitivity after caring for an injured bird (a crane and Canadian goose, respectively) in the form of a lovely, young woman who not only becomes their respective wife but possesses some magical, mysterious looming power that helps the men financially. Despite living happily with their new loves, the men eventually lose sight of what they have as they get clouded by monetary and material possibilities, thus forcing their wives to do something that they are hesitant to do. Ever so loyal, the wives agree to obey their husbands, as long as they promise not to enter the room while they are weaving their magic sails. Overcome with ambition yet grief of what they have done to their wives, the men crack and break the promise, finding their wives to be the wounded bird that they respectively saved, with the ultimate price being that they lose their wives forever and have to wonder what if for the rest of their lives.● Both versions of this folktale are built around powerful and sometimes contrasting themes of sensitivity/insensitivity, love, greed/ambition, loyalty/impatience, regret/remorse, happiness/sadness, etc. In other words, there is a lot to work with here as a teacher using these books in the classroom.● How the settings are presented is especially interesting in these different versions. Like folktales that don't spend a lot of time going into the setting (TMY, chapter 7), The Crane Wife establishes the setting within the first four words (Once, in ancient Japan) and then leaves it at that. I didn't even know that Molly took place in 19 th century New England until reading the inside flap of the book after my first reading of the story.● Passage of time is also interesting. In The Crane Wife, the reader is constantly reminded that time has past, typically with the phrase "Time passed" and the introduction of the different seasons. In Dawn, the passing of time is more natural through life events like the birth of a child, showing how this adaptation breaks in some ways from traditional folktales.● Both versions utilize foreshadowing when introducing the mysterious young woman, though Molly does a stronger version in my opinion. In The Crane Wife, the beautiful, young woman is introduced with "…her black eyes shining" which refers to when the injured crane's "…black, shining eyes opened" as Osamu nursed it back to health. In Dawn, Bang provides a more detailed description of the young woman in relation to the Canada goose, going beyond the black eyes when noting that "…She had a long, slender neck and tiny teeth, delicate and white. She had a scar on her arm (referring to the gunshot wound). I noticed it when she took off her cloak. How could I know what it was from?" Ultimately, such foreshadowing and rhetorical questioning made Dawn feel more personal and tangible to me than The Crane Wife, which was definitely the more traditional version.● The strong text in both versions is brought to new levels by the beautiful, colorful illustrations, which cannot be fully conveyed in my words but need to be observed by my peers in class on Monday night.Curricular ConnectionsThese seemingly simple stories have much relevance beyond the primary grades. If I was teaching these books, I would focus on the many themes that I talked about above, have the students compare and contrast the similarities and differences of The Crane Wife and Dawn, and examine not only the literary elements (foreshadowing, rhetorical questioning, symbolism of birds, etc.) but the illustrations, specifically how they convey the text but take the story to new places.For older students, I think this simple yet complex tale could spark great discussion about the regret of not appreciating someone until he or she is gone. Even for adults, these "kids" tales are prime material for talking about failed relationships and missed opportunities.
i don't know if this as a good book for kids, the end is ambiguous, its a cool story w/beautiful illoes but i'm frustrated not knowing what happens next.
A poor shipbuilder rescues an injured Canada Goose and releases it when it's well again. Later he meets a beautiful mysterious women with whom he falls in love and marries. She weaves extraordinary sails for his boat and one day a rich man asks for sails like them. She does not want to make them, but her husband insists. Finally she relents with one demand, that her husband never come into the room where she is weaving them. The story has a mythical ending.
. This folktale is adapted from the Japan legend Crane Wife. The book is about a man telling a story to his daughter. It begins by him telling her about a Canadian goose he finds in a swamp, its wing was injured from a gunshot. Geese do not belong in swamps and since it was injured the man wanted to rescue it. Once he nursed it back to health the goose flew away. After a few months, a woman appeared at his door to contribute to his boat making skills. He had never met this woman, however, she contributed the most amazing sails to his boats. The two got married and had a beautiful little girl. He built a boat for the three of them and she made the most beautiful sail for this boat. It was the best he had ever seen. He needed her to make another sail identical to the one she made for the family boat, but she refused. However, he was persistent and she agreed to make the sail. Her only expectation was he was not to come into the room while she was sewing. After several months, the wife grew weak and sickly but still worked on the sail. The day came when the boat was ready to sell and she had not finished the sail yet, however, she promised to finish by noon. Minutes before the clock struck noon the husband busted through the doors with no hesitation and didn’t find his wife. He found the goose he saved plucking away her feather from her chest. The goose, flew away and never talked to the husband or daughter again. Activity: I would use this book within my classroom to teach about folktales and the hidden meanings that are told through the book. I would first read this book to my class and then we would discuss what they feel the hidden meaning is. There are no right or wrong answers because as these stories have been passed along they have been modified. This will be the beginning my lesson on folktales and fables.
When a shipbuilder rescues an injured goose, soon after it is healed and released, a mysterious young woman shows up at his door. Soon after, they fall in love and later have a child. The woman shows her talents in sail-making, one time weaving the softest, but still strongest sails for her daughter. When another man wants sails for his schooner, the woman refuses, saying that the special sails are only for the family. What happens at the rest of the story is Molly Bangs beautiful interpretation of the Japanese folk-tale, The Crane Wife. It’s a lovely and mysterious story that will inspire much conversation.
I would give two and a half stars to this book. "Dawn" is the sad, tender story of a man whose ambition drives him to push his wife into making a personal sacrifice that he himself does not comprehend, a sacrifice that may cause him ultimately to lose her. Told in a sensitive way that will prick the heart (and perhaps conscience) of most readers, "Dawn" is a very well done portrayal of a Japanese tale, gently wrought and understatedly crafted. This is an impressive picture book.
This book was a bit .... Strange...
I loved this because it was Molly Bang and I loved all things Moly Bang. I don't think this is as amazing as some of her other awesomeness, but I don't think you can really go wrong with this lady.