Taka-chan and I by Betty Jean Lifton

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This story of adventure, bravery, daring, friendship, and honor begins when Runcible, a Weimaraner, digs a hole from Cape Cod all the way to Japan. There he meets Taka-chan, a little girl who has been imprisoned by a fierce and fearsome sea dragon. The dragon is angry that Taka-chan’s father and his fellow fishermen no longer pay him proper respect, but he is willing to free Taka-chan on one condition: Runcible must seek out the most loyal creature in all Japan and lay a flower at his feet. So Taka-chan and Runcible set out on a quest of discovery that takes them to the bustling heart of Tokyo. From palace grounds to noodle shop, Runcible explores the city, stopping at nothing to solve the mystery that will release his new friend from her captivity.

Taka-chan and I joins image and word in a tale that is as thrilling as it is poignant. Betty Jean Lifton, a lifelong student of Japanese folklore, and Eikoh Hosoe, a renowned Japanese photographer, have together created an enduring work of beauty that is fit to share a shelf with a classic like The Red Balloon.

About Betty Jean Lifton

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Betty Jean Lifton discovered a passion for Japanese culture and folklore while living in Japan with her husband, the psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton, in the early 1960s. Out of that interest came many children's books, including Kap the Kappa, Joji and the Dragon, The Rice-cake Rabbit, and The Dwarf Pine Tree. After the publication of Taka-chan and I, Lifton and Eikoh Hosoe collaborated on three more books: A Dog's Guide to Tokyo, A Place Called Hiroshima, and Return to Hiroshima. In 1975 she published Twice Born: Memoirs of an Adopted Daughter, which marked the start of her second career as an adoption writer, counselor, and adoptee-rights advocate. She died in 2010, after many years living in New York City, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Wellfleet, Cape Cod. Eikoh Hosoe is one of Japan's preemenant photographers. His work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Georges Pompidou Center, the Smithsonian, and the Art Institute of Chicago, among other museums. In 2010 and 2011 Theatre of Memory, a retrospective exhibit of Hosoe's dance photography, was shown at the Japan Foundation, Cologne and the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Runcible was the youngest in a litter of eleven Weimaraner puppies. He was born in Framingham, Massachusetts, and at the age of seven weeks was adopted by Betty Jean Lifton. It was from Mrs. Lifton that Runcible developed his nose for literature. He began digging up the material for this book during a two-year stay in Japan. Runcible is a firm believer in international understanding. "The world would be a better place if more dogs would travel," he says. Runcible and Eikoh Hosoe met one day when the photographer was walking on a lonely beach in Japan. Mr. Hosoe couldn't believe his eyes when he saw a dog coming right out of the ground, but before Runcible's departure from Japan the two had a long talk and Runcible told Mr. Hosoe about his adventure.
Published April 3, 2012 by NYR Children's Collection. 64 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Travel, Children's Books. Fiction