Item description for Singing Shijimi Clams by Naomi Kojima...
Take one older, not-so-wicked-anymore witch, add a slightly grumpy cat, and one large bucket of singing shijimi clams, and what you do NOT end up with, (no matter how hungry you are), is miso soup with clams. What you DO end up with is plain miso soup. What you end up with is a quiet, delicately illustrated tale of another country. What you end up with is a friendship that needs determination, ingenuity, and kindness - but no translation.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.5" Width: 7.1" Height: 0.5" Weight: 0.6 lbs.
Release Date Sep 1, 2006
Publisher Kane/Miller Book Pub
ISBN 193360512X ISBN13 9781933605128
Reviews - What do customers think about Singing Shijimi Clams?
singing shijimi clams Jan 8, 2008
I love this book! Teaching children, and adults no less, compassion, imagination and creative thinking is of the utmost importance and the combined pleasure of a fantastic ending is a sure winner. The little drawings are not colorful but so detailed and feeling.
As a cranky, old witch myself, I loved this tale of compassion and spiritual evolution. Jul 26, 2007
Yes, this tale does have a very strong vegan message. As the witch and her cat learn more about the clams and interact with them, they realize that the clams are living beings, too. More than that, they are fast becoming friends. You don't eat friends.
I loved that the witch (and her cat!) grew throughout the story and opened themselves to love and service to others, and became much happier beings for it.
Message books can be kind of preachy, but I really didn't find this one to be overly so. Nowhere does the author explicitly state that eating meat is bad, or even that you should want to help others in order to be a decent human being. Things just unfold naturally in the storyline.
As a vegetarian venturing into veganism myself, though, I love having this resource to begin to talk with my kids about the ethics of food choices. (My children are six and two.)
Happy as a clam? Nov 22, 2006
A poor old witch and her cat, Toraji, just want to make some yummy miso soup for their meager supper. The bonito flakes are boiling to make stock. But, wait the cranky pair have a change of heart when they look at the peacefully sleeping clams they have bought for the soup. An unexpected tale of friendship and happy, mundane magic. We like it. The Librarians Sisters, Karen and CJ
The drawings of the clams are priceless Nov 13, 2006
Singing Shijimi Clams is the tale of a witch, old and without her sparks, who brings home some shijimi clams for her dinner. She's taken aback, right before cooking them, to find find the clams snoring away. "Their shells were opened slightly, and their little bodies moved contentedly." Her cat, Toraji, tries to convince the witch that it's ok to boil up the clams because "(t)hey won't feel anything if you put them in quickly." But she can't do it, and witch and cat end up eating miso soup sans clams.
Eventually, the witch and Toraji start talking with the clams, and the clams cry when they learn that they aren't in the ocean anymore. The witch and Toraji have to undertake a major project to take the clams back to the sea. Along the way, the clams sing! "And every day, as the witch listened to the shijimi clams' sweet voices, she too began to feel happier, and less miserable."
I'm not such a fan of message books, and this one bears a relatively strong vegan message. But Singing Shijimi Clams is a lot of fun. The illustrations are deceptively simple, small black and white sketches rather than full page drawings. They convey the grouchy witch's gradual thawing, as she does something good for the clams. The cat is a riot, starting out callous, but by the end admitting "I will miss them when they go." The drawings of the little clams are priceless, with tiny faces, and lines to show movement and emotion.
This book grew on me. I thought that it was ok on the first read, but by the end of the second read I was quite attached to witch, cat, and clams. Because of the lack of color in the illustrations, and the relatively high text ratio, I think that this book will resonate more with kids on the older end of picture book range.
This book review was originally published on my blog, Jen Robinson's Book Page, on November 12, 2006.