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Friday’s Vintage Find::A Pair of Red Clogs by Masako Matsuno

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!

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13 Responses

  1. We at FIAR love Purple House Press! One of their “people” post on the FIAR board every now and then letting us know when they are reprinting another FIAR title! 🙂 The latest is Hanna’s Cold Winter that is being reprinted, which I think is a Vol. 4 title. As for Red Clogs, we are rowing that one in the next 2 months as a part of our tour Around the World, when we get to Japan! 🙂 Can’t wait as we haven’t ever “rowed” this one before!

  2. Oh I just noticed you are going to be discussing more books in Japan – awesome! I’ll be able to make my list from your blog when I start planning our study of the country of Japan! 🙂

  3. Wow, what service from Purple House Press!

    I love how much I’M learning doing these FIAR titles! Fun times! 🙂

  4. Sounds cute!

  5. Oh, I love love love this book! It has been a favorite of mine from the first moment I read it (we did FIAR 10+ years ago when my current teenagers were little).

    Thanks for sharing Purple House Press with us. I’m going to check them out right now!

  6. Okay, I had to come back and tell you that, not only did I just purchase Pair of Red Clogs from the Bargain Basement of Purple House Press, I also bought a copy of Night of the Moonjellies, which I liked even more than Clogs.

    So again, thank you so much for sharing this resource!

  7. Sounds really cute, Amy!

    We just read some Japan books around here this last week too, related to history. Most of them were about Samurai, though…

  8. Thanks for the recommendation. Our geography lesson is about Japan next week and this will be a great addition.

  9. […] the year.  After reading (and loving!) Masako Matsuno’s A Pair of Red Clogs ( my thoughts here), we picked up Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say.  I feel like this Caldecott Award-winning […]

  10. […] (The Hunger Games – audio)4. SuziQoregon (Catching Fire)5. SuziQoregon (The Dead of Night)6. Amy @ Hope Is the Word (A Pair of Red Clogs)7. Amy @ Hope Is the Word (Rapunzel, etc.)8. Amy @ Hope Is the Word (Grace Based Parenting)9. Beth […]

  11. Saw this book at a wholesaler book store. So cute! Great for everyone especially little asian girls needing a character to bond with and learn from. Nice find!

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