Cover image for The Seven Gods of Luck
The Seven Gods of Luck
Kudler, David.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., 1997.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Two poor Japanese children hope to be able to celebrate New Year's Day properly, and because of their kindness and with the help of the Seven Gods of Luck, they are.
Reading Level:
700 Lexile.
Geographic Term:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Not being able to afford the special foods for the traditional Japanese New Year's feast, Sachiko and Kenji decide to go to the market to make some money. A chance visit to the Shrine of the Seven Gods of Luck leads to some surprising events as the magic and generosity of the season end up providing for all.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4-8. Because their mother has no money to purchase special foods for the New Year's Eve celebration, Sachiko and Kenji decide to sell some beautiful hairpins and painted chopsticks to pay for the feast. After a long, cold day without any sales, they trade wares with a hat seller and set off for home, passing the snow-covered stone statues of the Seven Gods of Luck along the way. The children clear the statues of snow and give each one a hat; in return for their kindness, the gods reward them with a bountiful feast. Finch's traditional-style illustrations are bathed in yellow tones depicting the warmth and love that surround this family despite the raw weather outside and their lack of material possessions. Although no source notes are included, the author states this is an adaptation of a traditional Japanese tale. Whether classified as folklore or fiction, this will make a fine addition to holiday story hours, especially as an example of the universal theme of holiday sharing. (Reviewed December 15, 1997)0395788307Kay Weisman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Kudler's first children's book offers a rather thin retelling of a Japanese folktale centering on two resourceful siblings and set on January first (the day "everyone in Japan celebrates a birthday, no matter when they were born!"). When their mother tells Sachiko and Kenji that she has no money for the holiday feast, the children try to sell homemade hair pins and hand-painted chopsticks to get money for the meal. The two find no customers, but trade their wares for straw hats they then place on statues of the Seven Gods of Luck to shield them from the snow. Predictably, the stone statues come alive to bring the youngsters the makings for a celebratory feast. Although Kudler explains that the Seven Gods offer "good fish to bring harmony, and black beans for health," readers may be disappointed not to learn more about the holiday and its relevant symbols. Finch's (Night Walk) two colorful market scenes add spice, but the majority of pictures are rendered in neutral grays and browns (including the double-page spread of the feast: beige-yellow "golden bowls" covered with the straw hats and not a hint of their contents). Except for what youngsters glean from the foreword, they will likely come away from this retelling with little understanding of the holiday or its significance for the Japanese. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3‘A lively adaptation of a Japanese folktale. When their mother returns home on New Year's Eve without money to buy a traditional feast, Sachiko and Kenji take a few small possessions into town, hoping to sell them in the market. Walking through the falling snow, the siblings pass the Seven Gods of Luck. Brushing snow off these statues brings them no luck in the market, so they exchange their items for the inventory of an old hat-seller. On the way home, they clean the statues once more and place hats on their heads "to keep them warm and dry." This act of kindness reaps a generous reward. Yoshiko Uchida's The Sea of Gold and Other Tales from Japan (Macmillan, 1965; o.p.) contains a more traditional version of the story, in which an elderly man is the protagonist. The well-paced, carefully plotted text has a sprightly partner in its stylized, gently colored illustrations. Figures are set against ample backgrounds that celebrate the fabric designs and folk art of Japan. Economical in their expressions‘the tilt of a head, the lift of an eyebrow conveys a great deal‘the pictures of the children will appeal to readers.‘Margaret A. Chang, North Adams State College, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.