Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Boy of the Three-Year Nap” as Want to Read:
The Boy of the Three-Year Nap
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Boy of the Three-Year Nap

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  412 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Lazy Taro gets his comeuppance when his wise mother uses his trick to avoid work to her own advantage.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 25th 1988 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1988)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Boy of the Three-Year Nap, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Boy of the Three-Year Nap

The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry PinkneyMadeline by Ludwig BemelmansWhere the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakFlotsam by David WiesnerMake Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
List for #nerdcott
317th out of 334 books — 33 voters
Madeline by Ludwig BemelmansThe Stinky Cheese Man by Jon ScieszkaBlueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskeyDon't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo WillemsStone Soup by Marcia Brown
Caldecott Honor Books
157th out of 244 books — 142 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 673)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This had been in my classroom, but somehow has made it's way to Beetle's bookshelf. It is a book I ordered from Troll years ago.

What a fantastic tale! Such rich language. An interesting story. A twist. A fabulous illustrations. This is what children's literature is all about.

Taro is a shiftless boy. He lives with his mother in a one-room house that is in disrepair. To calm his mother's nagging, Taro enacts a plan that should net him riches for doing nothing. The plan works, but his mother catche
I immediately loved these illustrations! They pull you right into the Japanese setting. It seemed at first that Taro, a boy who is so lazy it was said he takes three-year naps, would somehow be rewarded for his laziness with his plan to trick his rich neighbor into letting him marry his daughter. While he doesn't exactly suffer any ill consequences, things don't go exactly as he had planned, which I liked. It just goes to show that a good mother will always be a great benefit to her children. Th ...more
Katie Foster
This story is categorized as a realistic tale, and I can see why! The boy is extremely lazy, while his mother is a hard worker. His mother wants him to go work but the boy comes up with a plan so he won’t have to. He pretends to be a god, and goes to the merchant demanding that his daughter marry Taro. He knows that she will never marry him unless their house was in better condition. His plan works, and the merchant has people come and fix up his house, meaning Taro won’t have to. At the end, Ta ...more
Rebecca Tenbrook
This traditional book was a realistic tale set in Japan about a boy who was very lazy and how his mother turned him into a hard worker. I liked this book because it was entertaining and something new was happening on every page. It also left the reader with a moral or message. I especially enjoyed the authentic language that was used in this book. Words like 'Nagara', 'cormorants', 'ujigami', and 'kimonos' provide the reader with a unique flavor of the country of origin, Japan. I think it would ...more
In this book, a spoiled boy dresses up like the patron god of a town and scares a rich merchant into betrothing his daughter to him.
The daughter does not even get to speak in this story, but is only a plot device. The lazy boy uses trickery to achieve a better life for himself and his mother.
This tells the story of a young boy who is so lazy that rather than work, he impersonates a local god and forces the wealthiest man in the village to marry his daughter to him so he can inherit the money. Granted, his mother arranges it so he also has to work for a living as well, but, despite Allen Say's good artwork in this, some aspects of the story made me uncomfortable. The daughter is nothing but a prize; she has no personality, no choices, nothing, and nothing is even mentioned of her own ...more
Bobbi Caulfield
What a wonderful book! You are given small, but great, glimpses into Japanese culture. As I read this story to my kids my oldest daughter was asking me questions about the culture such as wearing kimonos and what a samurai was. What a great teachable moment. The story itself was also quite entertaining, since I'm sure we all know someone with the tendency for laziness. For a minute there I thought Taro's mother might be a bit of a nemesis, but I was thankfully corrected with the delightful endin ...more
Crystal Lough
The Boy of the Three Year Nap is a book of Folklore. This book is written for primary and intermediate aged children. It is a book about a boy named Taro and his widowed mother. The mother worked day and night making kimonos for the rich ladies in town to make ends meat. Her son did nothing but eat and sleep. One day when they were coming to the end of their rope, Taro said he had a plan. His desperate mother helped him by making him a costume to trick a rich man into thinking he was a god and t ...more
Amy Keltner
1. Picture Book: other folk tale
2. A Japanese folk tale of how their is a boy name Taro and how lazy he is. Earning him the name of the The Boy of the Three Year Nap. Through his trickery he comes to be the one who is tricked himself.
3. a: This story was great at the retelling of a traditional Japanese folk tale. Allowing students to see what stories other children may have grown up with.
b: The print of the text was a lot. A student may stray away from reading it because of the amount of text
Amanda Catalina
This book caught my eye because of the title. The idea of a bit sleeping for three years intrigued me so I automatically wanted to find out what happened. I loved how the story ties in with anothe culture along with trying to teach that it is important to work hard and even if you try to scheme yourself out of something, it doesn't make it right. I also loved how simple yet capturing the arty was and that it perfectly complimented the story.
Taro is a very lazy boy, who only wants to nap and has no interest in doing anything to help his widowed mother. A rich man and his family move in next door, and the boy comes up with a plan to trick the man into letting him marry his daughter and thus have money enough to continue his lazy ways. But his mother fools him and extends his request farther than he intends.
This year, 1988, was a particularly good year for picture books. "Mirandy and Brother Wind" and "Free Fall" were two books that also won the Caldecott Honor, which were really well done. This one comes a close second in my opinion. In this story, Taro is always sleeping and never working, which earns him the title, "the boy of the three-year nap". One day a rich merchant moves into the town and Taro envies all of the merchant's belongings, including his beautiful daughter. He decides to play a t ...more
Taro is a Japanese boy who loves to sleep so much that he is the butt of village jokes. His mother cannot get him to work no matter how much she pleads with him. Taro comes up with a plan to marry a rich merchant’s daughter so that he doesn’t have to work. What he doesn’t plan on is his mother using the situation to her own advantage to get him to work after all.

It seems that teenagers around the world sleep excessively! I remember when it seemed that my son did nothing but sleep. Fortunately t
Allen Say's skill with his drawing and painting tools are magical - all the detail, perspectives, his interiors and the light that emanates from them in the evening or penetrates from outside during the daytime, and the range of human postures and facial expressions, negative space and his careful attention to composition. Wow! The story is well told, with the shrewd mother outrunning her clever but lazy son to bring everything to right by the conclusion (see page 29 for the juxtaposition of the ...more
Caldecott Honor (1989)

A lazy, good-for-nothing young man, who does nothing but eat and sleep, schemes to win the hand of a rich mans daughter and thus secure his comfortable future. How he goes about it, and the unforeseen consequence of his mothers hand in the plan leads to a delightful ending for all.

It is said that picture books are all about the illustrations. That is certainly true here and Allen Say provides his masterful artwork. The brush-line pictures are both colorful and delightfully
Becky B
Taro is the laziest boy in town. It is said that if you let him, he would sleep for three years. His mother, meanwhile, works and slaves but still cannot keep the roof for leaking or enough rice in the pot. Taro comes up with a plan to trick his rich neighbor into letting him marry his daughter, but Taro's mother is able to maneuver Taro's plans so that Taro doesn't get to be quite as lazy as he desired. In the end, everyone is happy and Taro gets over his laziness.

I've read this to 2nd graders
Emily Hamstra
The is a Japanese foltake about a boy named Taro who is always sleeping. His mother is a hardworking widow who wants Taro to help out but he's too lazy. A merchant moves to town who was well-off, and Taro thinks of a plan to marry his daughter. He pretneds to be a God and dresses up to fool the merchant into allowing Taro to marry his daughter. The merchant comes to the home and his mother tells him that the house isn't good enough for his daughter, so the merchant fixes it up. All the while, Ta ...more
A lazy boy manages to trick his wealthy neighbor into letting him marry his daughter. His mother convinces the neighbor to improve her home because the daughter certainly needs to live in a fine home. The lazy son, however, is outwitted by his mother, who ensures that he gets a good job working for his father-in-law to be. Not only does the lazy boy get what he wants, he also gets what he deserves. I enjoyed the twist to this story and Allen Say's illustrations are a lovely compliment to this cl ...more
Anna Wooliver
I absolutely adore Say's illustrations!
Taro lives with his mother. Taro is lazy and all he does is eat and sleep. He was always taking a nap and people would say that if no one woke him, he would sleep for three years. Taro devises a plan to marry the daughter of a wealthy merchant, by dressing up as a god and demanding the merchant give Taro the girls hand in marriage. The merchant asks Taro’s mother if he can marry, but his mother has plans of her own. Now, Taro is not the laziest person and no one calls him “The Boy of the Three-Y ...more
A widow works very hard, but her son is lazy and does nothing to help support their household. One day he comes up with a plan to trick a rich man into allowing him to marry his daughter thereby solving many of his problems. The trick works, but the widow has a trick up her sleeve too and arranges for a job for her son to cure his laziness. Funny story and with excellent illustrations that support the text well. The illustrator excels at facial expressions which add to the humor of the story. Mu ...more
Story about a boy who had no ambition and decided to sleep his life away. One day he got a bright idea to help his mother without having to do any work. Little to his surprise, his plan backfired and he had no choice but than to learn to be responsible. I read this book to third graders and I used it for a lesson on finding the main idea and summarizing. The students enjoyed the story and pictures. Great book to discuss the Japan and their culture.
This story takes place years ago in Japan. The boy is called the boy of the three-year nap because he is so lazy. He tricks a rich man into helping him and his mother, a widow. I love that the mother is able to trick him in the end. He deserved it! This book is great to use to introduce a unit on Japan. Students can talk about how people in Japan had arranged marriages and how men are responsible for taking care of their parents.
An interesting story that takes place in Japan. It has strong illustrations that show the kimonos and architecture of ancient Japanese culture. However, it is a little hard to find the moral in the story about a lazy boy who, through trickery, marries a rich girl. The ending feels rushed and even though the boy is shown in a happy marriage as a good father, it doesn't overshadow his scheming.
A Japanese trickster tale retold by Dianne Snyder. A lazy boy who likes to sleep tricks a wealthy merchant into betrothing the merchant’s only daughter to him. When the wealthy merchant comes to ask the lazy boy’s mother to allow the marriage, the mother turns the trick on her son by getting the merchant to employ her lazy son in the bargain of the marriage.

Caldecott Honor

This book deserves three stars for the illustration alone. I'm a fan of Allen Say's work, but the last two pages of the story ruined it for me. It was going pretty well and then all of a sudden it ended. Too rushed for my taste.
A picture book and read aloud for 1st - 3rd grade. A Japanese folktale about a young boy that would rather sleep all day then do his duties around the house. He uses trickery to get what he wants and in the end he gets tricked himself. This is a good book to show your students folktales from other countries and how they may be similar or different then the folktales we have.
The widow works hard but her son, Taro, is lazy and sleeps too much. Taro has a plan to trick his rich neighbor. He dresses as ujigami to say that Taro. The man doesn't like this, but he doesn't want his daughter to be turned into a clay pot.
His mother has plans, too. Taro is happy in the marriage and is no longer lazy.
Rebecca Sharp
Taro is the laziest boy in his village, but he has aspirations to be wealthy and respected. Taro works out what he thinks is a foolproof plan to make this happen, (without too much work, of course) but no one can foil his plan like his own mother. This Japanese folktale won the Caldecott Honor in 1988.
A typical folklore story with a surprising twist at the end. I thought this story was pretty interesting. The illustrations were lovely and I enjoyed reading it.

*Taken from my book reviews blog:
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 22 23 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Story of Jumping Mouse
  • The Faithful Friend
  • The Treasure
  • It Could Always Be Worse: A Yiddish Folk Tale
  • Peppe the Lamplighter
  • Working Cotton
  • Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest
  • Mirandy and Brother Wind
  • Moja Means One: Swahili Counting Book
  • Mice Twice
  • Ben's Trumpet
  • Noah's Ark
  • Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei
  • Anatole and the Cat
  • Hide and Seek Fog
  • The Graphic Alphabet
  • On Market Street
  • The Bicycle Man
George and the Dragon Word

Share This Book