Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Under the Cherry Blossom Tree

Book: Under the Cherry Blossom Tree
Author and Illustrations: Allen Say
Age Group: Ages 4-8
Country: Japan

World over, stories about miserly folks are common and a great fun. Under the Cherry Blossom Tree is a old classic tale from Japan about one such miserly landlord.

Long ago, there lived an old miserly landlord in a tiny village in Japan. He was probably the richest man in the village as well as the most irksome person in the village. All the cherry trees blossom around the same time during the spring and the whole village has a great time singing and dancing under the cherry trees.

During one such flowery spring season, the old man sitting alone in one corner of the meadow, accidently gobbles up a cherry pit or seed. The seed makes its way to his head and the next day morning a small cherry tree starts growing on his head. He is too miserly and embarrassed to go and get it cut off from the doctor; as the story goes along the small cherry tree grows into a giant cherry tree.

If you find this initial bit of the story hilarious, watch out for what follows in the book. It will have you rollicking with laughter. Sooraj and Shraddha love this book. The first time I read this book to them, they laughed and laughed. It is silly and lots of fun.

As per the book, this story is supposedly a very popular and classic makura(means pillow) - intended to set the stage for a more longer story in Japanese joke houses. The Japanese joke houses are called Yose and it is an very old form of entertainment, originating in Japan during 7th century.

Allen Say chooses black and white ink drawing to illustrate this wonderful book. His other books always has a touch of nostalgia and tiny bit of melancholy; but, in this book he departs from his trademark story telling and has every one in splits with this retold mischievous tale. If you are looking for a fun time with your kid and would like to watch their faces glow with twinkle and mirth, this is the book for you.

If you are interested in old and interesting folk tales based from Japan, please check out this interesting link.


Meera Sriram said...

Sathish, you are on a roll! A tree growing inside of a man..now do I doubt if that will get children guffawing?! I like the "makura" touch - although I am wondering why it means "Pillow" (setting the stage for sleep is more intuitive:) I also checked out the link - the one liner below each title is neat. Thanks for this post!

Choxbox said...


Just look at that illustration! The book sounds like a treat!

Anusha said...

reminds me of how my uncle would pull a fast one on us kids. if we swallowed a watermelon seed, we'd be worried it would sprout the next day.
even in this day of seedless watermelon and pitted cherries, this story will be a blast. excellent selection.

Poppins said...

Amazing Find! Satish, I've said this before and will say it again, your choice of books is SIMPLE SUPER!

Anonymous said...

Copy Kodi's mom.
Once I remember crying after swallowing an orange seed :)

utbtkids said...

OK, the previous anon was me. Just trigger happy today :)

Praba Ram said...

Funny Funny...I can totally imagine this story. A real gem for a story-telling session, Sathish!

Echoing Kodi's Mom.

One my worst childhood fears, growing up - remember worrying over swallowed lemon seeds and the possibility of trees growing inside and would one day come out of my mouth...we still joke about it with my kids when they accidentally swallow seeds...Of course, my 7 yr old, would retort -Mom, don't you know plants need light? duh!

Thanks for the information about Yose. One treasure-trove of Japanese tales you are enlightening us with!

Sheela said...

I always learn something new with your reviews, Satish! Oriental-style Pen and Ink drawings fascinate me (Chinese and Japanese), and the giggles for the kids - how can I not check this book out! Thanks!

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