Multicultural Monday: The Last Kappa of Old Japan By Sunny Seki Book Review and Craft

Disclosure: Tuttle Publishing gave me a copy of these products free of charge. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. They also sent me a copy to giveaway! As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.
Last week I reviewed a wonderful Japanese book, Yuko-Chan and the Daruma Doll for World Sight Day.  Tuttle Publishing sent me two copies of the book so I could offer one to giveaway and they included another book by the same author, Sunny Seki, called The Last Kappa of Old Japan for me to review. This is a wonderful book that introduces the popular Japanese legend of kappas. It is also a book I will pull out again for Earth Day. I actually enjoyed this one more than Yuko-Chan and the Daruma Doll and that is high praise since I really liked Yuko-Chan as well.

In this story a young boy and a kappa become friends. Kappa are often in Japanese folktales. They live in the rivers and ponds of Japan and there are many versions of what they look like and behave like. In this book, the young kappa looks like a boy with slightly off covering. In this book the kappas also protect the water. Too bad it is only a story--we need some real kappas. They also love cucumbers which is the only reason they come out of the water. Well the two boys play together until they grow up and then they do not see each other. One day the man has something tragic happen to his family and no one can help except his old friend, the kappa. As a result the reader learns about the fate of kappas and the discovery of the cucumber roll.  It is such a sweet and fun story.
As I looked for crafts to go with this story, I discovered the many versions of kappas and what they look like. I decided against doing anything with the other versions of kappas (some are a bit scary looking) and remembered the two folded fans I bought back when we were reading All About Japan.  Did you know the folded hand fan came from Japan? I had picked up these two fans for $1 each at Five Below with the idea we would paint them. We never got around to it. Now that Hazel is in school four days a week for full days, we do not seem to have enough time for all the crafts we want to do. Well, we finally got time to decorate them. The first one we decided to use finger prints as leaves and flowers for cherry blossoms in honor of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan. 
I drew the stem with a marker and Hazel used her fingers to add the leaves and flowers. Then she used some markers to decorate the top. For the next one she decided to use watercolor paints. It was hard to paint and draw on with the folds, so I taped the ends down with the fan as spread out as we could get it.
 Part way through panting this one Hazel remembered a fun fan idea she saw on television. Unfortunately her idea was for the two sides of one fan, but she was happy enough to do it on the other sides of the two fans. 

One side has a happy face and the other side has a sad face.

So that is our craft to go with this fun story from Old Japan. Don't forget to stop by my review of Yuko-Chan and the Daruma Doll to enter to win a copy of the beautiful book by the same author!!
For more on Japan check out: