REVIEW: Golden Threads by Suzanne Del Rizzo, illustrations by Miki Sato
When a storm sweeps Emi’s beloved stuffed fox away from their mountain home, he ends up tattered and alone on a distant shore. A kind old man finds the fox and gives it to his granddaughter, Kiko. As she recovers from an injury of her own, Kiko mends the fox lovingly with golden thread.
As the seasons pass, Kiko cares for the fox as her own. But after discovering his origins, she sets out, with her grandfather’s help, to bring the fox back to its original home. Once together, Emi and Kiko piece together the fox’s journey and find delight in their newly forged connections.
Golden Threads is inspired by the Japanese art form of kintsugi, or golden joinery, where broken pottery is repaired with resin painted gold. Kintsugi values repairing, rather than replacing, believing that the cracks give the broken item its story. This book is also a warm celebration of wabi-sabi, the Japanese idea that there is beauty in things that may be incomplete or imperfect.
The illustrations in this book are beyond fantastic. As soon as I’d read it the first time, I went back and studied the pictures, page by page – they are just that gorgeous.
The story itself can be read and appreciated on several levels. A little girl’s beloved toy fox is whisked away by and damaged in a storm. An older man finds the battered little fox and takes it home to his granddaughter. She knows immediately someone must be missing him and sets out to clean and repair him. Then later, she and her ojiisan begin the journey to take him home.
The story also shows the Japanese art of kintsugi or “golden joinery” in which a damaged item is repaired and then the cracks are painted (or in this case sewn together with) gold (thread). It shows the value in repairing rather than replacing damaged things. The Japanese concept of wabi-sabi or valuing things that are imperfect or unfinished completes the theme of the tale. In this throw-away age of everything-must-be-new, it’s a valuable lesson as well as a heartwarming story of a little fox finding his way home. B+