The Paper Crane, by Molly Bang

Published June 5, 2013 by Dagmar

the paper craneThis book never fails to please my students.  I usually read it to second or third graders, but it can be enjoyed by older students as well.

This is a story of a man who owned a restaurant on a busy road.  He loved owning his restaurant and had many customers, until a new highway was built.  Travelers no longer passed by, and the restaurant was empty.  One evening, a stranger wearing old and worn clothes comes to the restaurant.  Although the restaurant owner is very poor, he feeds the stranger. The stranger repays the kindness of the restaurant owner by folding a napkin into a paper crane.  He tells the restaurant owner that when he claps his hands, the crane will come to life and dance.  Sure enough, it works.  The crane dances.  People come from all around to see the dancing crane and soon the restaurant is busy again. One day, the stranger returns and takes out a flute.  The crane comes to life and goes to him.  Together, they leave the restaurant.  The stranger and his crane are never seen again, but travelers still come to the restaurant to hear the story of the stranger and the crane.

The illustrations are cut paper collage.  This book is the winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for illustration (1986).


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