By Matthew Gollub, Illustrated by Kazuko Stone
In this playful, rhyming picture book, a child learns to see monsters as his friends who chase away spooky dreams.
Alone on a beach, in Japan, the boy sees a tiny oni(OH-nee) creeping up from the sand. Soon there are two, then three of the colorful goblins, each with its own number written in kanji on its back.
The cumulative counting chant begins: "Ichi, ni, san-tun-tun. One, two, three, around they run!" As they beat their taiko drums they grow bigger—and more numerous. They carry on wildly, devour their dinner, smiling with crooked fangs and red eyes. What will they do with their very largest drum once all ten towering oni are assembled?
With bright watercolor paintings, Stone draws on the folk culture of her native Japan to portray the monsters as both frightening and funny. The author's note further introduces Japanese taiko, oni, and kanji. A chart at the end shows how to draw and pronounce the Japanese numbers one through ten, symbols understood not just in Japan but in China and Korea too!