The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks

  • Boston Globe/Horn Book Picture Book Award 1991
  • The New York Times Ten Best Illustrated Books
  • American Bookseller Pick of the Lists
  • Booklist Editors’ Choice


Brilliant watercolor and pastel paintings in the style of eighteenth-century Japanese woodcuts illuminate this engaging retelling of a popular Japanese folktale. Coveting a mandarin duck for his magnificent plumage, a greedy lord captures and cages him for all to admire. But the wild creature pines for his mate. When Yasuko, the kitchen maid, releases the bird against the lord’s command, she and the one-eyed servant, Shozo, are sentenced to death. How the grateful drake and his mate return the loving couple’s kindness and outsmart the capricious lord makes for a wondrous outcome.

Rarely have a storyteller’s art and a painter’s vision been so perfectly matched. Katherine Paterson and Leo and Diane Dillon have combines their talents to create a beautiful book that is as wise as it is sensuously satisfying.

Puffin Books
ISBN 9780140557398