The Paper Crane

by Molly Bang

A gentle stranger, unable to pay cash for a meal, instead repays a poor restaurant... read more

A gentle stranger, unable to pay cash for a meal, instead repays a poor restaurant owner by making an origami crane which comes to life and dances whenever the owner claps his hands. After reminding the owner that nothing lasts forever, so he should enjoy the crane while he can, the stranger leaves, returning weeks later to fly off with the crane. Above all people, the owner's young son, seen in the background throughout the story, feels the impact of the stranger's gift. The author/artist adapted a traditional Chinese folktale by placing it in an American setting. Her innovative use of paper cutouts, photographed to give the illustrations a three-dimensional quality, is at once playful and eloquent. Most remarkable, however, is the perfect synthesis of story, medium and theme, since paper, like the crane, is temporary. Winner, 1985 CCBC Caldecott Discussion. (Ages 5-11)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1985

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