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The Boy in the Garden

3.41  ·  Rating Details  ·  195 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
There was a story that Mama read to Jiro:

Once, in old Japan, a young woodcutter lived
alone in a little cottage. One winter day he
found a crane struggling in a snare and set it

When Jiro looks out the window into Mr. Ozu’s
garden, he sees a crane and remembers
that story.

Much like the crane, the legend comes to
life—and, suddenly, Jiro finds himself in a
world woven b
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 18th 2010 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published September 20th 2010)
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Jul 26, 2011 Miriam rated it liked it
Shelves: picture, mythology
As usual, Say's lovely paintings are stronger than his story, but I did find this story stronger than his norm. I liked the way he combined a myth (the Crane Wife) with a contemporary child's experience of hearing the story -- more original than the standard "retelling" or "modernization" of a fairy tale. I also thought he handled the little boy's thoughts and feelings very delicately and sensitively.
May 15, 2013 Dolly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Shelves: childrens, japan, 2013
We've enjoyed reading Allen Say's books, and when I saw this book on display at our local library I just knew we had to read it together. The story is a simple one, an afternoon in a garden when a boy dreams that he means a woman from a story he'd heard recently. The illustrations are wonderful and the narrative is very engaging. I love how the book depicts a bit of Japanese life and culture, incorporating a Japanese myth into the story without hitting you over the head or being overwhelming. We ...more
Mar 18, 2011 Janice rated it really liked it
A little boy, thinking of a story his mother told him "The Grateful Crane" tries to sneak up on a crane in a garden. His dad and dad's friend laugh at him because he thought it was real. Jiro find a tiny home, crawls in, and becomes convinced that the woman living there is actually the crane from the garden. He is desperate to provide for her so that she won't have to work.
Chase Vombaur
Dec 02, 2014 Chase Vombaur rated it liked it
A classic by Allen say the story of a young boy who is faced with fantasy and reality . A tale that combines two stories, what is a dream and what is true. The young Japanese boy must make a choice that will change his life forever. I love the way Allen combines the two unique tales and puts them in one. I love the symbolism in the book the Allen uses with the crane and animals. I love the Japanese culture we see in the book. Allen is famous for reaching out to multi culture audiences. This book ...more
Gabrielle Blockton
Date: November 9th, 2014

Author: Allen Say

Title: The Boy in the Garden

Plot: Jiro and his father visit a family friend with a New Year's gift when the little boy finds a crane and house on the family friends property. A beautiful woman appears and the boy believes that she is The Grateful Crane, the wife of a woodcutter who turned into a great bird when her husband broke his promise to her.

Setting: Japan; Mr. Ozu's home

Characters: Jiro (main character); Jiro's father; Mr. Ozu; The Grateful Cra
Sep 27, 2015 Josiah rated it it was ok
Allen Say's picture books tend to be rare and memorable sensory experiences. Their wide, detailed, and beautifully painted illustrations often achieve the effect of making it feel as if the reader is looking through a window to actually see the story unfold in living color before his or her eyes, and it can hardly be overstated how much that enhances the total experience of Allen Say's books. The Boy in the Garden is as skillfully rendered for this effect as any of the other Allen Say stories t ...more
Linda Lipko
This is two tales interwoven to balance both with lovely illustrations.

Folk like, there is a tale of a grateful crane who was rescued from a snare by a caring man. Later, a beautiful woman knocks on his cottage door and they marry..

To save them from poverty, the lovely woman weaves beautiful cloth, telling the husband each time that he can not peek in the room while she is weaving.

Breaking his promise, he came into the room and watched, and found a crane at work.
When the crane was transformed ba
Emily Mateos
Nov 18, 2012 Emily Mateos rated it liked it
Grade/interest level: Primary (1st-3rd grade)
Reading level: No lexile level available
Genre: Realistic fiction, Multicultural, Traditional literature

Main Characters: Jiro, the crane woman
Setting: Mr. Ozu's garden
POV: 3rd person narration

The book begins with a one page story that Jiro's mother read to him about a crane who was so grateful for being rescued that she turned into a woman and made fine cloth for the man who saved her until he peeked on her and saw it was the crane feeding its own fea
Pattie Simmons
Oct 04, 2013 Pattie Simmons rated it liked it
Book Title: The Boy in the Garden by Allen Say

Short Description of the Book: In this story, Say brings two tales and weaves them together. One tale is like a dream and the other tale is reality. A young Japanese boy must make a choice that will stay with him forever.

Focus: Narrative Structure: Say uses two tales and flashback to combine into one story. One tale is fantasy and one tale is reality. Say adds symbolism to this book through the an animal, the crane, while incorporating Japanese cultu
Laura Mcclanahan
Oct 22, 2013 Laura Mcclanahan rated it it was ok
Shelves: 544
Genre- Children's Picture Book

Familiar with the Japanese legend of the crane that became a woman to weave cloth for the woodcarver, I had anticipated the text would be an interesting spin on the legend. It was, however, a mismatched collection of events and a dream from a little boy. The story begins with a father and his son going to a friend's house, and the boy wandering in the garden. Suddenly the boy is alone in the woods with a beautiful woman who he thinks is the beautiful crane from the
Keely Wells
Sep 30, 2013 Keely Wells rated it it was amazing
The Boy in the Garden incorporates a story of a boy’s day visiting his father’s old friend, and a Japanese legend about the symbolism of a crane. In the story a boy thinks he sees a steady crane in the famous garden. However, as he approaches it he realizes it is stone. In disbelief he runs to a cottage where he falls asleep. In his dream a woman comes to the door to be his caretaker. The only exception is he cannot look at her while she is working. While he hears her weaving he awakes to the so ...more
Jul 15, 2014 Heather rated it liked it
Topic: Multicultural book
Theme: folktale, imagination, Japan
My thoughts: This is the story of a young boy who has a big imagination. The story shows the customs of the Japanese culture. The illustrations are beautiful and help keep the reader engaged in the story.

Activity: I would use this story and its pictures to discuss the similarities and differences between living in Japan vs the United States.
Dec 08, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it
* Jiro’s mother tells him the tale “The Grateful Crane” about a crane that is saved by a man, turns into a woman and becomes his wife. She asks him not to peek while she is weaving, but he cannot help it and does. She is a crane and will remain such, as he broke his promise. Jiro, along with his father, visits Mr. Ozu, a man who has a beautiful traditional Japanese house and garden. In the garden, Jiro finds a statue of a crane, and thus begins his dream which follows the tale his mother told hi ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Mar 16, 2016 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it liked it
Shelves: gardening
The Boy in the Garden is really two stories. One is an old folktale about a man who saved a struggling crane from a trap, met and married a young woman who made a beautiful cloth each night and who begged her husband not to look upon her while she worked, and discovered his wife was the crane he saved one night when he could not resist peeking at her while she worked. The second story is a tale of a boy and his father who go to visit a friend. The boy sees a statue of a crane and then goes insid ...more
Jul 30, 2011 Laura rated it liked it
I liked seeing how the story the boy heard from his mother came into play with his imagination. Even though I liked the story, I still felt like something was missing and it wasn't my favorite of Allen Say's books. The illustrations were still beautiful and I loved the scenery of the garden and the detail. I would probably recommend.

*Taken from my book reviews blog:
Shaeley Santiago
Dec 30, 2013 Shaeley Santiago rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s
After hearing his mother tell the story of the woodcutter and the crane many times, Jiro can hardly believe his eyes when he sees a crane in the garden of his father's friend. Could it be the crane from the story his mother has read him?

holiday #bookaday
Helen Prichett
Dec 08, 2011 Helen Prichett rated it liked it
This is beautifully illustrated and merges two stories. Jiro has often heard the story of “The Grateful Crane” from his mother and in this book he actually gets to be a part of that story himself. The books explores the boy’s imagination and will cause readers to wonder what really happened to Jiro and what was just a dream. I imagine this will appeal to those who like fairy tales.
Aug 30, 2011 B rated it liked it
lovely artwork
Grateful crane- beautiful Japanese legend (preface) - would have loved to see more of the legend illustrated
On New Year's Day a boy goes with his father to visit his father's friend, Mr. Ozu. The boy wonders into Mr. Ozu's garden and sees a statue of a crane which reminds him of the Grateful Crane legend.
-imagination and dreams
All of Allen Say's books are lovely, but this one was particularly so. I love that the story the little boy's mother has told him has stuck so well in his mind as well as his concern for the woman he believes may be the crane wife. I also enjoyed the little hint of magic and mystery added by the father's comment. A beautiful story worth sharing.
Hung Van
This book has such great visuals and pictures! I would use this book to expand kids knowledge on sensory words! This book would be a great asset to learn more about how to use descriptive words in their own writings.
Diane Mohney
Aug 23, 2011 Diane Mohney rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book
Interesting story and artwork. The old legend told to the boy on the first page was storytelling at it's best! Children may need help understanding what is really happening as most is imaginary or occurs in a dream.
Terrie Andrews
Mar 08, 2012 Terrie Andrews rated it it was amazing
Description: Great dream sequence that shows how what we read or are told can influence our imagination. The illustrations are magical.
Implementation ideas: Use with 5th grade folktale and story writing unit.

Feb 05, 2012 Paul rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-lit
This enjoyable book blends two stories as the supporting cast to the beautiful illustration, bringing the reader along into Jiro's always-looking, crouching behind a rock, and dreamily entering the old Japanese tale.
Nov 17, 2010 Tracie rated it liked it
Shelves: picture_books
After listening to his mother read him the traditional Japanese folktale "The Crane Wife," young Jiro has trouble distinguishing reality from fantasy.
Feb 11, 2012 Anna added it
Shelves: childrens
Beautiful illustrations and writing to tell the tale of a boy's adventure's through a man's garden and finding a statue of a crane.
May 06, 2012 Tessa rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-book
The illustrations of this book are lovely and the text, though a little stilted, is interesting and mysterious.
Kathy Fredrickson
I love Say's art but I would have preferred an entire book based on the brief story about the crane on the first page.
Shannon Kitchen
Tip: It doesn't make a lick of sense if you don't read the story that comes before the story. Beautiful illustrations.
Jan 29, 2011 Marianna rated it really liked it
After his mother reads him "The Crane", Jiro has an encounter with a crane statue that sparks a wonderous dream.
A young boy's imagination takes him into the story of "The Grateful Crane," while visiting a famous garden.
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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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