Madison's Reviews > Wabi Sabi

Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein
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's review
Apr 12, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: classroom-library, picture-books, multicultural-books

Wabi Sabi is the story of a cat named Wabi Sabi who does not know the meaning of her own name. She asks several of her friends what the meaning of her name is, but none are willing to explain it to her. She wanders around the city and eventually into the woods where she finds an old building. Here she encounters a wise creature that helps her discover the meaning of her name for herself.
The layout of Wabi Sabi is indicative of the culture that this short picture book represents. The book is opened and the pages are turned upwards, rather than sideways. This mimics the way that Japanese is written. Each page also includes several words in Japanese as well as a haiku that attempts to explain what “wabi sabi” is. The title “wabi sabi” is actually a term for a specific feeling in Japanese culture that English does not have a translation for. The combination of the orientation of the book, haikus, traditional illustrations, and topic create a unique text that is representative of the Japanese culture.

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