Wabi Sabi

Another Ed Young book – and I am bowled over by it straight away.

It illustrates, and explains, something in Japanese culture that I kind of understood, but didn’t know had a name: wabi sabi. It was there in the Japanese illustrations of La Fontaine’s fables that I mentioned before. It’s there in haikus, in their quiet minimal holding of a moment in time, in nature. It’s there in the zen garden and the rough, chunky and irregular bowls of the tea ceremony.

Thumbnail for version as of 14:37, 24 January 2005

And this book illustrates wabi sabi through a story. A story about a cat called Wabi Sabi who wants to understand his name.

So, what is wabi sabi? Here is the author of the book, Mark Reibstein, and the illustrator, Ed Young, talking about the book:

Ed Young used collage for his illustrations. As he says in an interview here on How To Be A Children’s Book Illustrator:

“It’s easier to change around, nothing is permanently pasted down,” Young said. “It’s flexible and alive. With other mediums you often get tight too quickly, then you get attached to it and it’s hard to change. Collage was something I used for sketching in the past. Now I use it to finish my work.”

“It’s really play. You don’t get down to make something firm until the [pieces] start to talk to you.  Then you listen.”

wabi sabi 1

wabi sabi 2

The cat’s tail twitching,

she watches her master, still

waiting in silence.



  1. Jayla said

    I think wabi sabi is a really great story because I have the book and I got it from a libary tell the worker that can I find sabi sabi and she will take you right to it.

  2. Jayla said

    Something elese about wasbi sabi is if your a 3-5 grader it has a lot of words if you like to read so I was telling you that so you can get above all that people and start reading it before any body elese starts to read it trust me its a really great book please get it its at perris libary and its open to im checking right now and it states its open to im sorry I cant get a hold of it but I can tell you when I get it because its taking a long time because it says loading on it every time I press it and im so sorry you guys I but your not going to read this whole thing because its like a paragraph and also im typing right now just me stop it its because I rwally like typing dont you guys think its better and aslo white board im so sorry this is so long I cant even stop myslef and comment below if you read some of it or if you only read a sentence ok thank you for your time by you guys ill probulay be back tommow I want to see so commets or ill probulaty come back to night you never know right ok that it for me bye see you to night or tommow.

  3. The perris libary opens tommow at 10 am to 6 pm just wanted to let you know

  4. Janessa Velasquez said

    This wasn’t exactly helpful, the whole story would’ve worked. I need this story for a school project and no websites have the story! 😠😡

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: