The Paper Crane by Molly Bang was first published in 1985. For today’s computer and gadget-oriented kids, this story may seem a bit dated. However, it is a timeless tale of days gone by. Parents will be reminded of the days when people lived in a community rather than a city. People supported small, family businesses instead of discount warehouses. And the origami? The origami is there to give us magic.
This book is about a man who owns a small family restaurant. He cooked good food and provided a friendly place for people to meet and eat. One day, a super highway was built which caused cars and people bypass his small restaurant. In no time, the man lost all his customers and became poor.
One evening, an elderly man came into the restaurant. His clothes were old and worn, but the man seemed kind. The restaurant owner decided to cook and serve food for this elderly gentleman even though he could not pay. After finishing his meal, the elderly gentleman folded his napkin into a paper cane: it was a magical crane because it came alive and danced if you clapped your hands. The elderly gentleman gave the magical napkin crane to the restaurant owner in appreciation for the food and kindness he received.
Soon everyone heard about the dancing crane and they came back to visit and eat at the restaurant. The owner was very pleased.
Time passed until one day, the same elderly gentleman came back to the restaurant. Without saying a word, the elderly man took out a flute and started to play. The napkin crane came forth and danced the most beautiful dance ever. After the song, the elderly man climbed onto the crane’s back and together, they flew away.
Even though the napkin crane was gone, customers continued to visit the restaurant to be with friends, share tasty food, and enjoy old memories.
It’s a very charming story. The artwork complements the story well: they are in the form of paintings with paper cut-outs placed in offset to achieve a 3D effect.