Kimiko yearns for a carp-shaped kite to fly on Children's Day, like
the one little brother Yukio has, but it's not the Japanese
tradition: kites are for boys. When she tries, politely, to
negotiate, her parents are firm - but not unsympathetic, especially
Mama. It's true, as Kimiko says, that Yukio shared in the Doll
Festival by coming to Kimiko's party; Mama, sighing, says, "You
remind me of the carp, Kimiko, always wanting to swim against the
current," but agrees to "bend" tradition: she may unpack one of the
dolls reserved for that festival. Better, once Children's Day is
over, Kimiko gets a special gift: a live carp in an aquarium.
Roundtree's illustrations are stolidly literal, her bright colors
almost garish - an unfortunate choice for a gentle story
distinguished by unusual warmth and subtlety. An upbeat but still
bracing look at a culture in which children learn to accept
tradition - and, like all children, to bargain within the
constraints they're given. (Kirkus Reviews)
A CARP FOR KIMIKO is the story of a young girl's struggle against
the strong current of tradition. Every year on Children's Day in
Japan a kite in the shape of a carp is flown for each boy in the
family. Kimiko is a little girl who desperately wants an orange,
black, and white calico carp kite of her own to fly on this
Kimiko's parents remind her that there is a holiday just for
girls-Doll's Festival Day, but this does not stop Kimiko from
dreaming about and wishing for her very own carp. The magical
ending achieves the impossible-Kimiko gets what she longs for
without breaking tradition. Katherine Roundtree's beautiful
illustrations evoke the wonder and excitement of childhood, which
will charm readers of all cultures.
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