The Child Who Was Born

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The Child Who Was Born
Author: Yōko Sano
Specifications: ISBN  978-4591037515
32 pages
21.2 x 28.2 cm / 8.5 x 11.3 in (WxH)
Category: Children & YA
Ages: 3+
Publisher: Poplar Publishing Co., Ltd.
Tokyo, 1990
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A child who chose not to be born has come to this world to observe it. He's not afraid of roaring lions, and mosquito bites don't make him itch. He hasn't been born yet, after all. But one day he sees a little girl who, bitten in the rear end by a dog, runs home in tears crying "Mommy, Mommy!" As he watches the girl's mother tend to her child's wound, he feels envious. He wants someone to apply a bandage to him, too, so he decides to be born. When he cries, "It hurts!" his mother comes running, assuring him, "It's all right." She feels soft and warm, and smells good too, as she hugs him. He gets hungry sometimes. He itches when mosquitoes bite. He laughs hard when the wind blows.

Through the medium of a child, the author spiritedly shows what it means to live?we feel emotions and sensations, we hear other's words, and we get sleepy when our stomachs are full. By making the protagonist a child who didn't want to be born, Sano hints at a tender subject, revealing her stance on life in a fresh, raw way that resonates strongly. Two-tone lithographs create a mythical atmosphere, and the expressions on the faces of the men and women depicted have an old-timey look. This is a moving book for young and old, however many times it is revisited. (Sachiyo Hosoe)