When I was a kid, I used to read a book called Japanese Children’s Favorite Stories and it was one of my favorite books to read because of the pretty art and fun stories. Filled with popular Japanese folk tales, this book was like Japan’s version of Aesop’s Fables, with a moral to each short story.
A few months ago, I found out that there is a sequel to that book, Japanese Children’s Favorite Stories Book Two. Written by the same author, Florence Sakade, Book Two brings a new collection of favorite children’s folk tales. Although the artist is different, the styles are very similar, bringing continuity between the two editions.
I read through the whole book with my kids and although they enjoyed all the stories, some of them did start to feel a bit repetitive. The telling of Urashima Taro didn’t seem to come across very well in translation, as it ended rather abruptly without really making the moral of the story clear. My kids were a little confused by it because it wasn’t exactly clear on what Urashima Taro had done when he opened the box.
To be fair though, even after reading up on the story online, I’m not sure what the moral is. Curiosity is bad? It’s a bit hard to explain that to kids because really, what did Urashima Taro do to deserve such a fate?
There were a couple of typos in the book, but with colorful art with every page turn, it’s hard not to enjoy it as a bedtime book. My kids often request it and I even recognized a folk tale that is the basis for one of Final Fantasy XI’s special events called Celestial Nights, which was The Princess and the Herdboy.
The book is 96 pages with sixteen short stories. Priced at around $16.50 on Amazon with an audio CD to go along with it, I think it’s worth the price considering it’s a hardcover. While it may not have the same quality of stories as the first book, it’s still a worthy sequel to a wonderful book.
This book was sent to me for review from Tuttle Publishing. I was not paid to write this review.