Monday, February 25, 2013
The Moon Princess
The Moon Princess Retold by Ralph F. McCarthy, Illus. by Kancho Oda, 1993.
This bilingual folktale (Japanese and English) in verse tells of another baby born in a miraculous way, who also reaches adulthood within a few months (See Super Fruit Babies). This is Princess Shining Bright. When her woodcutter father finds her inside a glowing bamboo that he has cut down, she becomes the daughter to elderly parents. Every day after, her father finds another magical bamboo filled with gold. Shining Bright becomes a beautiful woman with many suitors, but she has no wish to marry and puts them off by giving them them impossible tasks to fulfill. This allows her to spend four more years with her family. However, her true origin is revealed, bringing things to a bittersweet end.
This is a mini book, not quite 7 1/2 inches tall. The book tells us that the illustrations are from volume 203 of the Kodansha Picture Book series. I'm not sure what that means. The pictures have a traditional look and if I knew more about Japanese art, I'm sure there would be much more to tell (I'm trying to remedy this with, yes, more books). As you can see from the book's cover, the art is beautifully detailed. Overall, it is quite a pretty little book.