Cover image for Kogi's mysterious journey
Kogi's mysterious journey
Partridge, Elizabeth.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dutton Children's Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 24 x 29 cm
Kogi paints the shore of Lake Biwa, but is unable to capture the vigor and beauty that inspire him. One day, Kogi wades into the water to release a fish, and unable to resist follows in its wake, eventually becoming a fish himself, and learning what it is to be a fish in the lake.
Reading Level:
760 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.4 0.5 70394.

Reading Counts RC K-2 4.3 1 Quiz: 34367 Guided reading level: N.
Geographic Term:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PZ8.1.P228 KOG 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales
PZ8.1.P228 KOG 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area
PZ8.1.P228 KOG 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales
PZ8.1.P228 KOG 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Kogi longs to capture the spirit of nature in his art. He draws majestic mountains, trees, waterfalls, and Lake Biwa's glimmering fish, but his paintings are always lifeless and dull-until one supernatural morning when he wades into the cool, deep, shimmering water and becomes a golden fish. There he learns firsthand the freedom within the silence that pulsates in all of life. When hunger drives him to risk the fisherman's baited hook, another miraculous transformation forces Kogi back to his life as a painter, but a painter now forever changed. Elizabeth Partridge's elegant prose and Aki Sogabe's cut-paper illustrations bring clean lines and lush color to this mysterious tale of discovery. Adapted by Elizabeth Partridge. Illustrated by Aki Sogabe

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this team's (Oranges on Golden Mountain) second outing, paper cutouts with bold outlines accompany an eerie Japanese folktale. Partridge tells the story of how, at each full moon, the people who live near Japan's Lake Biwa gather to hear the story of Kogi the artist, who tries again and again to paint fish: "But no matter how hard he tried, something was always missing." One night, by the shores of Lake Biwa, he releases a fish he has spent all day drawing into the water, then slips into the water himself; he becomes a fish. "In the vast silence, peacefulness filled Kogi. His spirit reached out to touch the stars." But then he's lured and hooked by his friend the fisherman, and comes within a carp's whisker of being cooked. He wakes in a cold sweat; it was all a dream. The precision of Sogabe's traditional cut-paper Japanese motifs-a kimono-clad artist under the cherry blossoms, a snow-covered mountain-will certainly impress readers, but the fish scenes reveal her greatest gifts. When the fisherman hooks Kogi, the lake churns with fan-sprays of angry waves, and the carp looks set to leap off the page. After waking, Kogi discovers new and magnificent artistic talent, but he isn't interested anymore: the freedom he has tasted in the lake is sweeter, and he enters the water one last time. Kogi may be an unfamiliar figure, but readers will not fail to feel the power of that final decision. Ages 5-8. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 4-In medieval Japan, an artist longs to capture the spectacular natural surroundings and diverse wildlife of Lake Biwa. No matter how hard Kogi tries, his paintings always seem to lie stiff and dead upon the paper. Seeking an ineffable quality he cannot seem to achieve, he wades into the water and finds himself transformed into a golden carp. For days, Kogi revels in the delicious freedom of swimming in the great lake. Unfortunately, he becomes hungry, and though his human mind knows better, he takes a baited hook and soon finds himself lying below a cook's knife. Sogabe uses a solid black spread, shot with a red line that looks like exploding barbed wire, to show the moment of Kogi's piscine death. The painter wakes to find that his wandering spirit has returned to his human body. His dream opens floodgates of creativity and now his paintings are endowed with energy and vitality. Partridge's spare, poetic recasting of a Japanese folktale ends with the artist and his creations coming to life again as fish. Dignified and handsome, Sogabe's carefully composed cut-paper art employs muted colors to bring Kogi's inner and outer worlds to life. An informative source note traces the history of the story. This enticing version of a Japanese tale stands out as a compelling read-aloud.-Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.