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Kamishibai Man

4.2  ·  Rating Details ·  411 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
The Kamishibai man used to ride his bicycle into town where he would tell stories to the children and sell them candy, but gradually, fewer and fewer children came running at the sound of his clappers. They were all watching their new televisions instead. Finally, only one boy remained, and he had no money for candy. Years later, the Kamishibai man and his wife made anothe ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 24th 2005 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published January 28th 2005)
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Dec 27, 2010 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book! One of my favorites of 2010. I was absolutely fascinated to learn about the kamishibai tradition. This story is not only interesting it is so deeply human, so poignant and wise with its gentle, subtle telling. The author's note is fabulous as it explains a lot more of the history of this tradition of Japanese theater and that, although the kamishibai men have all but disappeared from the streets of Japan, the tradition has left an indelible mark on Japanese entertainment. And, ...more
Lisa Vegan
Jan 12, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: kids who enjoy listening to stories; budding storytellers and artists
Recommended to Lisa by: Kathryn
This is a wonderful story of a Kamishibai Man (a storyteller who uses storytelling paper cards & sells candy) who goes back to work because he misses it. I was fascinated to learn about this Japanese tradition; I’d never heard of it. The afterword, which is written by a Japanese folklore scholar, greatly added to my enjoyment of this story.

The whole story and its afterword have a melancholy feel, but there are some very uplifting aspects included. There is a fascinating author’s note at the
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
Dec 18, 2012 Randie D. Camp, M.S. rated it it was amazing
I feel disadvantaged after reading this book. I must call my mom and ask her why she never exposed me to kamishibai (paper theater)…lol, but seriously growing up after the invention of TV has probably limited my potential in immense ways. Okay, back to the book…Say’s illustrations are beautiful and I enjoyed how his format seems to parallel or symbolize a kamishibai. This is definitely a great choice for a read aloud as Say unravels a remarkable story about a storyteller. Perhaps the most remark ...more
Dec 10, 2012 Dolly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a wonderful story about a dying art and the practitioners of this art. The story shows an old man returning to his old stomping grounds to peform his shows. His popular form of entertainment lost favor to television and other electronic media, but his return brought back feelings of nostalgia and fond remembrances of an older time.

The narrative is poignantly entertaining and the historical aspects of the story were enlightening. We all learned a little something about Japanese life in t
NS - Cami Houston
This book was written about a man who lives in Japan who is now elderly. He and his wife never had any children. The man would ride his bike to town, tell stories to the children, show colorful picture cards, and give away candies that his wife would bake for the children in the oven. The book is unique in that it doesn't begin at the beginning. It begins at a point where the old man had given up story telling, but years later had begun to miss it. Deciding one day to take a ride into town on hi ...more
I was introduced to Allen Say's work by the 2nd grade teachers at my school. I'm trying to read more historical fiction because it is something that I normally shy away from. After I saw my colleagues do a lesson on one of his other books (My Grandfather's Journey), I decided to read more of his work. I like how he uses elements from his family's history to teach us about the history of Japanese-Americans as a whole.

This particular Allen Say book is centered around a tradition from his childhood
Jan 21, 2015 Barbara rated it it was amazing
Another wonderful story by Allen Say. Kamishibai, Japanese picture stories, is an art form with its roots in Kabuki theater. It was a way for poor people to make a meager living when times were hard, especially following WWII. A Kamishibai stage was easily transportable by bicycle and the performer told stories and sold candy to make a meager living. Eventually, television, and more prosperous times, all but put the Kamishibai performers out of business. Manga and anime comic books trace their r ...more
Allen Say's Kamishibai Man is a true literary and artistic marvel. From the simple yet detailed illustrations to the flowing and nostalgia rendering text, this book, quite frankly, comes to life in the reader's hands... Set in post-World War II Japan, Kamishibai Man tells the tale of the long-held tradition of oral storytelling using picture boards, a mobile cart as a rolling 'theater', along with drawers of homemade candies for enticement. Like many parents and teachers in the twenty-first cen ...more
Dec 09, 2010 Crystal rated it it was amazing
This is one of our favorite picture books. I get a little teary-eyed reading it aloud.
The author is of Japanese and Korean parentage, and spent some of his childhood in Yokohama, so his pictures and story reflect his cultural awareness.
This picture book shows how the arrival of television to post-war Japan spelled the end of the traveling storyteller called Kamishibai Man. The afterword (written by a St. Paul's graduate) explains how in the period of rapid economic growth, the Kamishibai was
NS-Christine Johnson
Sep 29, 2009 NS-Christine Johnson rated it really liked it
Long ago in Japan, before televisions, children were entertained by the stories of the kamishibai man. He would travel through town on his bike and show picture cards while all of the children gathered around. He sold them candy and they visited him every day to hear his stories. One day, the children stopped coming. They stayed indoors and watched television instead of going to hear the stories of the kamishibai man. He stops going on his rounds, until one day many years later when he decides t ...more
Rusty Gregory
Feb 11, 2013 Rusty Gregory rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
"Not so long ago in Japan, in a small house on a hillside, there lived an old man and his wife."

This is a nice quiet book with beautiful illustrations. The story is emotional in a quiet way. What a life, telling stories and selling candy. It was very interesting to read about Kamishibai in Japan. The illustrations are very well done.

Feb 18, 2016 Judy rated it really liked it
I haven't read this to a child. I appreciate the messages, and I always like to learn something about another culture. This clearly depicts how a new technology can affect a culture. The art is so detailed, that it may not be necessary to read the words.
Jun 19, 2011 ABC rated it it was amazing
Shelves: younger-kids
What a great book. It teaches both a history lesson and a cultural lesson, yet is still really kid friendly.
Oct 15, 2008 Lara's rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Parents and children 4yrs-8yrs.
Shelves: picture-books
Synopsis : Japanese treasures of the past are filled with new life once more. The author, Allen Say, shares with his readers a wonderful tale of childhood.
Review : My grandfather told me once that "getting old really sucks". At first I didn't understand what he was talking about, he was successful, energetic, funny and seemed happy. However, as I age, I see what he meant. The Kamishibai Man is kind of going through the same thing my grandfather did. The same thing we all will go through eventu
Oct 22, 2014 Itzel rated it liked it
The story was about a kamishibai man that used to go into town and show the kids stories and sell them candy. In the beginning of the story, the man was leaving his home and told his wife he’ll return. He was biking into town as a big truck drove behind him and honked at him. The old man then began to think that the town has changed how there are now more cars and they used to be friendly and that there were different buildings that used to not be there before. Then it told the story about how t ...more
Chloey Jones
Oct 23, 2014 Chloey Jones rated it really liked it
A heart warming story of an elderly man who was once know as the Kamishibai man to all of the local children. One day he decides to try and return to his line of duty and truck back into the city on his old back which he hasn't visited in quite sometime. Taken back by all of the new technology the city had to offer, the elderly man began remembering his prime years when children loved when he came into town. Just as we was about to head home devastated he turns around after hearing an old famil ...more
Jul 02, 2010 Mikejencostanzo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
I just took my first trip to the library in what has probably been 6 months and got hopelessly stuck in the children's picture book section. I came across Kamishibai Man by Allen Say and decided to read it on a whim. I am so glad I did.

Kamishibai Man explores the relationship between the advent of the television age and one of Japan's post-war storytelling traditions. Author Allen Say captures this bit of history with touching poignancy, managing to bring tears to my eyes every time I reach the
Stephanie Winchester
Kamishibai Man is the extraordinary tale of an old man and woman who sell candy and tell stories for a living during a depression in Japan. This story was written and illustrated by Allen Say and details the life of a Kamishibai. One day the old man decides to start selling candies again and his wife makes him candies to sell in town. He rides his bike to town only to find that the little town has turned into a city. Eventually, television is introduced and the people that watch him tell stories ...more
Feb 03, 2014 Angel rated it liked it
This was an interesting story about a Japanese man recollecting his past as a Kamishibai man- a storyteller. Say's ethnic heritage is evident throughout the book. It's an interesting look at the culture, but it's not my favorite of Say's books.

North Carolina Children's Book Award, 2007; Nominee
Best Children's Books of the Year, 2005 Bank Street College of Education
Booklist Book Review Stars , Sep. 15, 2005 American Library Association
Booklist Top 10 Art Books for Youth, 2005 American Library As
Mar 24, 2014 Courtney rated it it was amazing
Shelves: edutl-2368
Say, A. Kamishibai Man. New York: Houghton Mifflin (2005).

Kamishibai Man is about an old man in Japan who was a Kamishibai man, which meant that he carried a box of pictures that he would place in a small window and then would tell the story of the picture to children. The old man no longer has this job because of the invention of the television. However, as he is wandering around town one day he runs into the children he used to tell the story to, but they are now grown up. The grown children a
The title word kamishibai is Japanese meaning “paper theater.” In the informative afterword, Say explains the historical and cultural importance of the kamishibai performers and how they were precursors to modern manga and anime writers and illustrators. The story focuses on an older kamishibai man who has not sold his candies or told his stories for decades, but decides to ride his bike into the city and perform once again. Startled by how much has changed, he begins to tell the story of the de ...more
Aug 23, 2016 Jody rated it it was amazing
I used to live in Japan (year and a half) but don't recall seeing any kamishibai there. However, one summer I was a tour guide for a group of Japanese students and teachers. At the bye-bye party, they presented me with a kamishibai including the picture stories of Momotaro (Little Peach Boy), a classic fairy tale in Japan. I actually cried.

Kami means "paper" and shibai means "drama" so a kamishibai is a paper drama or a play using paper and drawings. The words or script are written on the back s
May 03, 2016 Nathan rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, diverse
I felt so bad for Jiichan at the start of the book. He loved being a Kamishibai Man and then TV had to come along and ruin it. Kamishibai means "paper theater". Kamishibai men would ride around on bicycles with big boxes on the back, and set up somewhere to tell a story with picture cards. They would tell the story to kids and sell sweets to them after the story was done. So you can imagine the effect TV had on these men! In this story, Jiichan decides he's going on another round and tells the s ...more
Hayle Lincoln
Apr 19, 2015 Hayle Lincoln rated it it was amazing
Kamishibai Man was a great book! This book told a good story, and I think many children would enjoy this story. The aspect that I enjoyed most from this book were the creative illustrations, because they were so creative. Even though this story took place in Japan (p. 4) I wouldn’t say that the book was filled with cultural details. At the beginning of the book it is printed that “Jiichan” means grandpa, and “Baachan” means grandma, (p. 4) which are the names used throughout the story when refer ...more
Kristin Falenski
The book Kamishibai Man by Allen Say is about a man who used to ride his bike into town and tell stories to anyone who would listen and in turn when they were done they would get home made candy made by the mans wife. As the man grew older however, he started going to town less and less. Also as the times changed less and less children wanted to listen to his stories and wanted to watch television instead. One day after the man had grown old he decided to go back to town and was surprised that t ...more
Feb 22, 2008 babyhippoface rated it really liked it
An old kamishibai man--Japanese street storyteller--who retired with the rise of television goes out to tell his stories one more time, only to find the children who loved his tales years before still hold a place in their hearts for his kamishibai tales. Even readers unfamiliary with kamishibai will appreciate this lovely, sentimental story of a quieter time. Say’s graceful illustrations appear in two distinct styles--realistic paintings for the story itself and less-detailed, more cartoon-like ...more
Kelli Ryne
Jul 03, 2010 Kelli Ryne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
This book provides a beautiful introduction into the debate of culture versus modernization. As students study world cultures, they are bound to encounter arguments that are vehemently against new ideas and arguments that stress the need to throw off the traditions in favor of Westernization. They will encounter how some people have woven these two ideas together and may even be able to discuss their own experiences with it. Kamishibai Man shows how culture has a root, meaning and purpose, and t ...more
Sep 19, 2009 Susan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: absolutely anyone
A long time ago, the Kamishibai man came to my neighborhood (in Japan) and often read his stories. At least once, he came into my backyard with his theater mounted on his bicycle and entertained the neighborhood children (as well as my siblings and myself).

Say's story and beautiful illustrations recall an art that died out due to the emergence of television. Today, though, kamishibai are presented to children in their school settings.

Much, much later, I was able to attend a reading of this book
Feb 02, 2013 Jenny rated it really liked it
I found this story of the Kamishibai Man interesting. I enjoyed the foreword and afterword that gave details about the history of kamishibai as a form of entertainment in Japan. Kamishibai means "paper theater" and Say explains that each afternoon, the kamishibai man would come on his bicycle and tell a story that was accompanied by paper drawings displayed on a paper box. The children would gather to hear his stories and to have one of his candies.

This story is of a kamishibai man who sees the
Feb 01, 2012 Paul rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-lit
While many of Say's books begin with a character as a child, here he starts from an aging man and his wife, returning to his own Kamishibai Man street-storytelling experiences in a Japan that has since been displaced by the traffic and buildings of modernity that startles him. Say's canvases against a dark grey concrete wall and foggy-grey sky are beautiful, as is the Kamishibai Man story his character tells to a street audience that is grateful for his investment in who they have grown up to be ...more
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Allen Say is one of the most beloved artists working today. He is the recipient of the Caldecott Medal for GRANDFATHER'S JOURNEY, and also won a Caldecott Honor and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for THE BOY OF THE THREE-YEAR NAP (written by Dianne Snyder). Many of Allen’s stories are derived from his own experiences as a child. His other books include THE BICYCLE MAN, TEA WITH MILK, and TREE OF ...more
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