Monday, June 10, 2013
A Brave Girl: The Samurai's Daughter
The Samurai's Daughter by Robert San Souci. Illus. by Stephen T. Johnson, 1992.
According to San Souci, this story is set in medieval Japan during the Kamakura period (1185-1333). Tokoyo has been schooled in the samurai virtues as well as learning abilities befitting a lady.She has also mastered boating and underwater skills from women divers in her village. When she is eighteen, her father is banished by his mentally unstable lord. Tokoyo first cries, but then decides to dress as a peasant, and with a lucky cricket that her loyal nurse has given her, sets off to be with her father. Her journey to him will test her courage, compassion and training and will include ghosts and a terrible sea monster.
I have previously mentioned Robert San Souci's books The Silver Charm and Peter and the Blue Witch Baby. He has written more than 200 titles, 12 of them with his brother, Daniel. Many of them are from folktales and legends, including his scary tales in Short and Shivery series. See his website at Robert D. San Souci .
Johnson has illustrated the story with vivid paintings done with pastels. Even from the book's cover, we get an idea of Tokoyo's personality as a forthright and confident young woman. She is gazing frankly at the reader, arms akimbo, untroubled by the large and threatening sea monster that lurks behind her. Children will enjoy the action pictures when Toyoko jumps into the sea with a dagger between her teeth, ready to face down the serpent.She is a fine strong heroine to share with your sons and daughters.