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Review by Kristen Bentley

A bit about the author: Kristen  is a High school English teacher since 1994. Mother of two and professional writer with a Master’s degree in education. She loves to read, travel, watch baseball, and watch her children play sports, too.

The One Inch Boy

If you are looking for a story with an encouraging message about inner strength, The One Inch Boy from iStorybooks.co is a perfect choice. This lovely story about a humble family who wished for a child, had their wish granted, and raised him to be a strong young man teaches so many powerful lessons that children need to learn. Along with useful life lessons, readers will enjoy learning about Japanese culture as the listen to the story.

What to Expect in the Story

The story The One Inch Boy is about a boy who is one-inch tall. As his humbled parents pray for a child, his father does not want to ask for too much, so he says he would be satisfied with a boy who was only one inch tall. Once his wife gives birth the tiny baby, they name him Issun Boshi or One-inch Boy. They shower him with love and he grows up to be strong and smart, but only one inch tall.

When Issun is old enough to leave the house, his parents provide him with necessary tools: a needle for a sword and a rice bowl with chopsticks as his boat and oars. After arriving in the big city of Kyoto, Issun looks for a job. He eventually finds a job working for a family with a very large house. Issun’s job is to keep insects, like flies away from the wealthy man. Along with the job, Issun is given a room in the man’s home. The man introduces Issun to his daughter, Princess, and the two end up developing a friendship.

On a trip to gather berries, Princess is threatened by a large oni (the Japanese word for ogre or troll). Fearlessly, Issun stands up to protect her. The oni thinks nothing of the one-inch boy and quickly eats him. As the oni swallows Issun Boshi, Princess hits the ogre in his chest and screams for Issun to be freed. The oni then begins to cry and burps up the small man. Once he is freed from the oni’s body, Issun threatens the oni. Surprisingly, the oni drops his mallet and runs away from the tiny man. Issun used his needle-sword to stab in the insides of the oni.

Once the couple realizes that the oni’s mallet is a magic tool, they pick it up and make a wish. The mallet grants the wish, so Issun Boshi instantly grows to a normal size. He and Princess are quickly married and they live happily-ever-after.

Life Lessons from Issun Boshi and Princess

The story teaches children how important it is to be smart and to use your skills. Even the tiniest, one-inch boy was able to use his brain and tiny needle to help himself out of a dangerous situation. One-inch boy never let his small size get in his way.

Students will not only enjoy the story about the smart and tenacious Issun Boshi, but they will also enjoy pieces of Japanese culture that they learn. The story has a few Japanese words, like Issun Boshi, oni, and Kyoto. Children will also be able to learn about the way of life of the Japanese, like the humble nature of the parents, the magical aspects of traditional stories, and the power of hard work.

Power of the Japanese Music that Accents the Story

Many of the pages in the story also have samples of Japanese music. The music was specifically chosen to highlight mood of the different scenes. When Issun Boshi is born, the music is joyful. When the young man reaches the city of Kyoto and meets the master of the house who hires him, the music has some more intensity to it. In the moment that the oni attacks Princess, the music has a deeper tone that alerts readers that something bad will happen. When Princess pounds on the oni, the music emulates the noise of her pounding on him. The happy ending is reinforced by the bright and joyful tune. Parents and teachers can ask children how the music makes them feel, before the children hear the story. The music serves a tool for predicting what will happen next in the story.