Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews



Wabi Sabi, a little cat in Kyoto, Japan, had never thought much about her name until friends visiting from another land asked her owner what it meant.

At last, the master
Says, "That's hard to explain." And
That is all she says.

This unsatisfying answer sets Wabi Sabi on a journey to uncover the meaning of her name, and on the way discovers what wabi sabi is: a Japanese philosophy of seeing beauty in simplicity, the ordinary, and the imperfect.

Using spare text and haiku, Mark Reibstein weaves an extraordinary story about finding real beauty in unexpected places. Caldecott Medal-winning artist Ed Young complements the lyrical text with breathtaking collages. Together, they illustrate the unique world view that is wabi sabi.

A New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book for 2008!


About Mark Reibstein

See more books from this Author
Mark Reibstein is an English teacher and writer who has lived in New York, California, Hawaii, Japan, and Thailand. Now Mark and his daughter live near San Francisco with their good friend Arlo, who is also a cat. This is his first picture book. Ed Young has illustrated for over 70 books and has been awarded the Caldecott Medal for Lon Po Po and the Caldecott Honors for Seven Blind Mice and The Emperor and the Kite. He lives in upstate New York with his daughters.
Published October 1, 2008 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 40 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Travel, Children's Books.

Unrated Critic Reviews for Wabi Sabi

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

The Japanese concept of wabi sabi, or the art of finding “beauty and harmony in what is simple,” is explored textually and visually in this story of a Japanese cat named Wabi Sabi who wonders what her name means when a visitor asks her mistress.

| Read Full Review of Wabi Sabi

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

“Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story From China” (1989) won him a Caldecott Medal with its dramatic pictures (including a particularly fearsome wolf), creatively enhanced by the thematic use of light and shadow — which also resonates in his dedication: “To all the wolves of the world for lending t...

Nov 07 2008 | Read Full Review of Wabi Sabi

Common Sense Media

Those haiku are translated in the back of the book, along with a helpful explanation of both haiku and the origins of Wabi Sabi.

Oct 01 2008 | Read Full Review of Wabi Sabi

Reader Rating for Wabi Sabi

An aggregated and normalized score based on 36 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review