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The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy

(The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-boy #1)

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  51 ratings  ·  33 reviews
With their parents killed by an evil feudal overlord, who wants Azuki for the valuable feathers she produces when she is a Toki bird, Azuki feels she must flee. It’s all her fault, isn’t it? She is the one with the cursed ability to turn into a bird!

Shota, her brother, can become a sparrow, but nobody wants his plain brown feathers. Armed with information from their dying
Paperback, 142 pages
Published June 24th 2014 by American I (first published June 16th 2014)
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Average rating 4.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  51 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Sep 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Young Azuki and her brother Shota are not like regular children. Shota can transform into a sparrow and Azuki is a rare Toki bird. When Azuki is in Toki form she sheds beautiful and sought after white feathers. A greedy feudal overlord kills their parents and captures Azuki because he wants her feathers. This tragic event sets Azuki and Shota off onto two separate, but connected, wild journeys.

The Toki-Girl and The Sparrow-Boy is an imaginative and unique tale full of captivating settings, mes
Garrett Alley
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book! It starts out like a kind of fable or fairy tale set in Japan, but it soon becomes something larger, something more. The clean plot and writing combine to produce an outstanding style. The author also included drawings from young people depicting scenes in the book and that added to the wonderful feel of the story.

The main characters are a brother and sister who can become birds (a sparrow and a "toki" respectively) and the book centers around them finding their way awa
Bree Wolf
Jun 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
By Bree Wolf, author of Fireflies

‘The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy’ is one of those stories that ring of ancient truths. Stories that are handed down through the generations. Stories that make you wonder what small, seemingly insignificant but nonetheless real action once upon a time inspired them.
If you listen closely, you can actually hear the voice of an old story-teller whispering the words on the page before you, making them come to life and bringing you a story full of courage and love, o
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was fun to read definitely something new as it is written about a culture that I remotely know of.
The book also consists of illustrations which I welcome with open heart. I'm always interested how people are seeing in their heads what they read. :)
Sep 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Part history, part folklore, and part fiction, Youmans’s vivid, deeply intriguing, and seemingly small story of a sibling pair, children who can turn into birds, tells a much larger tale of the Meiji era Japan.

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy, the series kickoff expertly sets the stage for upcoming adventures of the sibling pair, Azuki and Shota. Wealth and luck bestow Chizuyo and Hachibei after arrival of their daughter Azuki, a Toki bird who can turns into a human child. The family becomes c
Feb 25, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a free copy of this ebook from the author via Voracious Readers Only in exchange for an honest review

Actual rating: 3.5 Stars

Written in a fairy-tale like manner, The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy makes for an interesting read in a style that you don't often see in fiction these days. I must say that the writing and language used indicates to more of a Middle-School age and Young Children age target audience, but this isn't the first nor the last time I'll read and enjoy a 'younge
Sahani Perera
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The premier sage of a children' folklore that takes us to the heart of the Meiji era.

The harsh reality dawned upon Azuki as her eyes lay upon her father's silent body. Strangled away, locked up, by the man filled with greed Azuki hopes for a moment of escape. Shota, guided by his mother, planned his sister's escape, but as unfortunate events turned up in there life Shots embarks on a mission to bring his sister back. Claire Youmans bring out the power of turbulent struggles faced by young childr
Aug 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book via Voracious Readers Only in return for an honest review.

This story is essentially one long fairy tale set in the Meiji era of Japan. Personally, I love fairy tales, but the straightforward writing style that comes with them can get a little boring after too long, and I think I was reaching my limit towards the end of this book. That said, it is still a fun story, with great lessons about kindness and historical Japan that I think would be ideal for the younger re
Suzanne Cruz Garcia
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I want to take Claire Youmans for sending me the book I read it like right away😄

Finally finished reading this book. I got to say this is one of my favorite books 😍.
Not only has illustrations in it which I love but the characters has this intensity in them (I don't know how to explain it besides the word intensity). I loved every minute of it and for some reason I was smiling from ear-to-ear. Loved it. The characters were amazing in here I was dedicated and following Azuki and her becoming a Toki
Jane Roberts
Apr 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy of this book from Voracious Readers, in return for an honest review. I feel that this book is written for teens or preteens, but saying that I enjoyed it. It seems to be based in Japanese folklore and has a nice flowing style for most of the book. The ending is a bit abrupt but some people may prefer it. A really nice touch is the illustrations at the start of each chapter depicting part of the story, by various artists. The story is based on a hard working couple who are ...more
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
I obtain this book from Voracious Readers. The story is of a Japanese family who wished for children and were blessed with Toki children, able to change from human to bird form. The joy of being blessed with these children is shattered when the greed of another results in death. The children flee, only to return wiser and wealthier, however, they also find greed and fear. The journey and Japanese prints within the book, are entertaining, yet it ends too quickly. I suppose the author intends to e ...more
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
*I received a free copy of this book from the author via voracious readers only in exchange for an honest review*
It was an interesting read with it’s different perspectives and settings. I enjoyed all the Japanese lore magical creatures such as the dragon. However it was an unusual style of writing and felt a bit stiff at times making it difficult to connect with the characters, saying that I did enjoy it and I would read the next one.
Cair-Paravel De Loulay
May 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This short story has a very nice flow to it. The characters feel like real people you could have a conversation with. I really enjoyed the story, and how the author wove in some of the history and lore of Japan throughout.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author via Voracious Readers Only*
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
I received a digital complementary review copy of this book from Voracious Readers Only. While I did not love the book, there was a unique charm about it. In a lot of ways, it felt like a bedtime story that someone might read to their child. I didn't really care for the writing style, but I think that, because of the bedtime story-like feel to it, I would have enjoyed an audio book more.
Sep 12, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of this from Voracious Readers.

An intriguing idea, with a lot of great visual clues (and the atmospheric artworks at the beginning of each chapter).
However it was written a bit too simply, I felt a lot more could have been shown rather than told, and it seemed to be written almost like a fable, or a tale for younger readers.
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely amazing. The story line is brilliant and captivating. The writer really puts their all into this story. A beautiful master piece. I highly recommend you read if you like fantasy/historical Japan themes.
Claudia Foglein-Goins
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Voracious Readers I was able to get book 1 and 2 . I have to say I loved it and its fairy tale feel . The writing was good and seemed very traditional . I recommend it and am seriously thinking of the rest of the series although these 2 could be stand alones .
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received this book as a complimentary copy from the author via voracious readers only.

This is a lovely story, written like a folk tale. The main characters are believable and grow as the story progresses. I look forward to seeing them develop further in other books of the series.
Rochelle D'Anvers
Jun 07, 2020 rated it liked it
I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author via Voracious Readers Only. I enjoyed this book. It gave a fascinating glimpse into some aspects of Japanese culture and mythology whilst being fun and entertaining.
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Good story. Never got boring to top wordy
Mar 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a beautiful story. It wasn't long but it was heartwarming. Set in Japan. It told of trials, searching for self, overcoming odds, learning and growing.
I'd love everyone to read this.
K.D. Bissonette
May 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book received from Voracious Readers Only. This is a beautiful story!! I loved it and especially loved the Dragon Princess! :) Can't wait to continue reading from this author!!
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Utterly charming. I very much look forward to reading more of this story.
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved everything about this book. It hooked me from beginning to end. The plot is amazing and it was such a great read. I can’t wait to read more by the author Claire Youmans!
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
A delightful read for all ages with a much larger picture than is initially apparent. Full review to come.
Oct 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Book Review: The Toki-Girl & The Sparrow Boy (Book #1, Coming Home)

This book by Claire Youmans reads like a fable or folk story from Japan. It is the first book in a box set of three that is targeted for readers eight-years of age and older. The main characters are two children, Azuki and Shota, who have the ability to change from birds into a humans and back again as their hearts’ desire.

The book starts off with a lesson in kindness that leads to good fortune. Chizuyo and her husband, Hachibei
Aug 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Michael by: Goodreads
NOTE: This book was sent to me as part of a Goodreads: First Reads giveaway!

I quite enjoyed this book, so I will go directly into my pros and cons.


"Imagi-Nation" - Seriously, this story is very imaginative and fanciful. The characters are distinguished and have their own, well written, personalities. It takes place in something of a universe parallel to ours, as it includes mention of Japan and America, but also implies that it isn't quite OUR universe that it takes place in. Which was pret
Katie Beitz
Jul 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
‘Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy’ by Claire Youmans begins as a whimsical Japanese fairytale. Youmans has captured the spirit of Japanese storytelling and, like the Japanese literature it is inspired by, the novel is charming in its simplicity and grace.

I enjoyed reading this novel for the intricate and interesting plot and for the insight it gives to Japanese culture from this period. The characters were likeable. In particular, I enjoyed the story of Shota, and his journey to find his sister. T
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful introduction for young readers to the stories & history of another culture (not bad for this adult reader, either!). I LOVE that the author has used young artists' work to illustrate the book. And that the principal protagonist is a brave, resourceful girl. Engaging story; let's have the sequel soon! ...more
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Claire Youmans is an accomplished adult non-fiction and mystery writer who has also written and edited innumerable articles, engaging audiences for over 20 years. With a deep love for Japan and its culture, Claire has traveled there extensively studying the country’s culture and folklore.

While working on a play produced in Tokyo, Claire was so inspired by two minor characters -- Azuki, a Toki-Gi

Other books in the series

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-boy (3 books)
  • Chasing Dreams (The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy, #2)
  • Together (The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-boy, #3)

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