Monday, July 7, 2014

Japanese Children's Stories

When I was a child, we had a number of books in our house that were collections of children's stories from different parts of the world.  My favorite was Japanese Children's Favorite Stories.  I read the stories over and over - and like all folktales from no matter the region, they were about goblins and animals and strange people learning the values of kindness.  The characters ate delicious foods and traveled to far away places.  Everything about the stories and pictures was magical to me.  Along with this book, we also had two other books of Japanese Children's stories:  Kintaro's Adventures and Urashima Taro.
When I read to Ben before bed, we usually read a couple chapters from whatever chapter book we're on, and then if he's still awake, I let him pick out a book from his bookshelf.  For the past couple nights, he has picked Kintaro's Adventures - and asked specifically for the "story about the rice cakes" - which is the story of an old man who shares his rice cakes with some very hungry mice who in return for his kindness present him with a magic bag of rice.  I think Ben likes the idea of the rice cakes rolling down into the mouse hole, but it's been fun to see him laugh and get excited about stories that I really enjoyed myself as a child.  I'm looking forward to digging out some of my other folklore collections to share with him.

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