I have volume one of Five in a Row to thank for introducing us to this wonderful book. First copyrighted in 1960, A Pair of Red Clogs by Masako Matsuno is currently published by a publishing house heretofore unknown to me: Purple House Press. The slogan for this company is “Bringing back the finest in children’s books!” and I don’t have to tell you how much I like that. I think this might be one company that bears further exploration!
A Pair of Red Clogs is the story of a little Japanese girl, Mako, who gets a new pair of red clogs for school. The story describes the shopping trip of Mako and her gentle mother and how excited Mako is over her beautiful, new red clogs. When Mako wears them to school, she participates in the traditional weather-telling game, in which shoes are flung off to “predict” the weather. Of course, one of the clogs cracks, and Mako spends a miserable evening planning to deceive her mother and hopefully get another new pair of clogs. However, her gentle and wise mother knows the truth, and the story ends both predictably and realistically.
Two elements that make this book so appealing are the whimsical and expressive illustrations by Kazue Mizumura and the wonderfully descriptive way in which it is written. My girls love for me to read the “sound” the clogs make: “KARA KORO, KARA KORO.” We’ve read and re-read this book, and my girls still enjoy it. I give this one a Highly Recommended!
Stay tuned for more books about Japan in the next few weeks here at Hope Is the Word!