The Origami Master



Last updated Friday, September 7, 2012

Author: Nathaniel Lachenmeyer
Illustrator: Aki Sogabe
Date of Publication: 2008
ISBN: 0807561347
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2012

Synopsis: From School Library Journal
Shima is an origami master who lives in the mountains of Japan with only his folded-paper creations for company. A warbler is building its nest in a tree in his yard and watches him at his work. For three nights, while the master is asleep, the little bird flies to his desk and folds a figure in the manner he has observed—each figure amazing the man with its simplicity and beauty. When a hiding Shima discovers the warbler at his desk, he decides to capture it in order to watch its skills firsthand, but the bird has another kind of lesson to teach him. Lachenmeyer's spare text and Sogabe's colorful cut paper and watercolor illustrations are the perfect vehicles for this short moralistic tale. Man, bird, house, and origami creations—the main elements of the story—are outlined in black. Square and rectangular patterns are repeated in the simple Japanese house and in its slatted outdoor walkway; in its screens, windows, and furniture; and in the bird's cage and the table on which it sits. While most pages hold full- or double-page illustrations, three images that show Shima catching and caging the bird and the final picture indicating his offering of friendship are enclosed in red-bordered boxes. A solid choice for discussing the importance of respecting each living creature's own space

Discussion topics:
•  What is origami?
•  Where is Japan?
•  Why do you think the bird was making origami? Do you think that birds can really make origami, or is this pretend?
•  Why did the origami master want to cage the bird?
•  Why didn't the bird make origami in the cage?
•  Do you think the origami master was jealous of the bird? Have you ever been jealous of someone?
•  Why did Shima make a new nest for the bird?

Vocabulary:
•  Warbler- a small songbird.
•  Origami- the traditional Japanese art of folding paper into different decorative forms.
•  Dusk- the state of partial darkness between day and night.
•  Twig- a small, dry, woody piece that has fallen from a branch.
•  Alighted- to dismount or descend from something, or to settle after descending.
•  Magnificent- exceptional in beauty or size.
•  Lair- a den or resting place of a wild animal.
•  Examine- to inspect something carefully.

Craft ideas:
•  Do the origami in the back of the book, and complete an origami nest. Fill the nest with yarn and other knick knacks.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!