Friday, March 20, 2015

PPBF: The Paper Crane

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

The Paper Crane, by Molly Bang
Courtesy Amazon
The Paper Crane
Written and Illustrated by Molly Bang
Greenwillow, 1985
grades K-3, 450 words

magic, kindness

"A man once owned a restaurant on a busy road. He loved to cook good food and he loved to serve it. He worked from morning until night, and he was happy."

Father and son restaurant owner take pity on a poor stranger even though business is slow. In return for his meal, the old stranger fold a napkin into a magic origami crane. When the restaurant owner claps his hands, the bird becomes a living crane and dances beautifully. The magic bird draws customers to the restaurant again. Even when the stranger returns to claim his crane, the restaurant family is happy, serving food and sharing the kindness in their hearts.

What I Love:
No deep meanings or complex characters here. Just a simple story about joy and kindness. This is a modern story with a fairy tale feel. The spare text and gorgeous cut-paper illustrations have kept this book on the shelves and in the hearts of its readers.

1. Make a paper crane, of course! Or dabble in other Origami forms. Origami Instructions for Kids is a good place to begin. Or buy one of Kunihiko Kashahara's books, like Origami Made Easy. I've used mine for thirty years.
Available at the Printmeneer's Etsy shop
2. Learn about the history of Japanese American immigration at the JANM website.
3. Play restaurant with this fun DIY cabinet-turned-diner.
4. Printmeneer makes amazingly clever cookie cutters that look like folded paper cranes.
5. If you are studying picture book structure with ReFoReMo, Molly Bang gives a basic structure for this and other folk tales on her website.
6. Check out these and other Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Carrie
Reviewed by Joanne
Reviewed by Erik

Reviewed by Joanna
Reviewed by Julie
Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for March 20, 2015 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.


  1. This reminds me of a modern fable. I like the emphasis on what can happen with an act of kindness. Nice choice.

  2. I love the three dimensional qualities of the illustrations. Gorgeous! And the story sounds lovely. We can't get enough kindness in this world. Thanks for highlighting!

  3. Great classic pick, Joanne. That is a cool cookie cutter - may need to start my holiday shopping very early!

    1. Thanks. They do custom cutter designs, too. I'm trying to think of something really "me"

  4. This feels very modern for its 30 year age!

    1. Many of Molly's books have a timeless feel. That's probably why she was able to write "Picture This: How Pictures Work." She's a genious.

  5. Going on my ReFoReMo list.... How did I miss this one over the past many decades?

    1. I think it's worth examining the structure despite its age, though it is difficult to get an editor to look at a fairy tale type story.

  6. I don't remember this Reading Rainbow books. I will check it out. Thanks!

    1. Then I'm happy to introduce you! Thanks for reading!

  7. Sounds like a lovely story and everyone loves to make paper cranes.

    1. Wait until you see all the illustrations! Thanks for your comments.

  8. I was able to put this on hold at the library. Thanks for the recommendation!

    1. Cool! I love how this could easily be published today. Enjoy!


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