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The Boy of the Three-Year Nap

The Boy of the Three Year Napby: Dianne Snyder; Allen Say (Illustrated by)

A Walter Lorraine Book
ISBN: 039566957X; $6.95
EAN: 9780395669570
Paperback; 32 pages
Publication Date: 10/14/1993
Trim Size: 10.31 x 9.50
Age Range: 5-8 years
Grade Range: Grades K-3

A poor Japanese woman maneuvers events to change the lazy habits of her son.


Lazy Taro gets his comeuppance when his wise mother uses his trick to avoid work to her own advantage.


Publishers Weekly
Taro is a Japanese boy whose penchant for sleeping is the butt of village jokes, much to the chagrin of his poor widowed mother, who works hard to provide them with necessities. Taro cannot be coaxed into working, despite his mother's pleas, until he falls in love with a rich merchant's daughter and hatches a scheme to make himself wealthy. The author's foreword explains that many gods and demons inhabit Japanese folklore, which will help readers understand how Taro, disguised as a local deity, is able to convince the rich neighbor that his daughter must wed the laziest boy in town. Say's art, with stylized Oriental touches, comically animates the sprightly tale, perfectly matching the abundant wit of Snyder's adaptation. All ages. (April)

"The pictures, handsome in every respect, are done in Japanese style, and complement a well-crafted story."

Children's Literature – Mary Quattlebaum

This humorous Japanese folktale follows a young man "as lazy as a rich man's cat." While he's snoozing, though, the quick-witted mother hatches a plan that gains him wife, job-and very limited nap time. I recently gave this book to my husband, who chuckles each time he reads it.

School Library Journal

Gr 1-6 The accuracy of the visualized Japanese landscape and architecture help considerably in casting this retold folktale into an Oriental mold. A very industrious widow watches her very lazy teenage son (whose nickname is the title of the book) grow up. And readers watch her watching him in tightly crafted scenes that are some what reminiscent of 17th- or 18th-Cen tury Japanese woodcuts: fishing boats on the river; bamboo-windowed houses; blue-mountained backdrops with birds in V-formation; etc. Smoothly applied paint (seemingly air brushed at times) depict the peaceful Japanese landscape. The costuming and facial gestures, as the boy tricks a rich neighbor into rebuilding his moth er's house and allowing him to marry his daughter, create a dramatic effect. There is a sense of authenticity to the pictures that informs readers about a particular lifestyle while simultaneous ly entertaining them with an engaging, almost universal trickster tale. Ken neth Marantz, Art Education Depart ment, Ohio State University, Colum bus

This book won the coveted Caldecott Honor award for picture books.