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  • Ages 10 and up
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Gurikku no bōken

[Glick’s Adventure]

Written by Saitō Atsuo
Illustrated by Yabuuchi Masayuki

Iwanami Shoten (Iwanami Shōnen Bunko), 2000. 358 pp. ISBN 978-4-00114-0453.

Also published in: Chinese (traditional and simplified characters)

In this animal fantasy, Glick, a Japanese squirrel raised by humans, sets out for a forest far to the north after hearing from Pippō the carrier pigeon that his fellow squirrels live there. In “Part 1,” the first half of the book, Glick is seen off by his older sister Flack, who lived in the human house with him; meets the brown rat Ganba and his friends; is drawn into a battle with the black rats; and becomes determined once more to complete his own journey. The time Glick spends in a safe but confining cage and the crowded city streets are meticulously depicted, conveying his growing yearning for freedom and adventure.

    In “Part 2,” the book’s second half, Glick meets another squirrel called Non-Non at the zoo. Together they run “North! Straight north!”, and their adventure unfolds with thrill after thrill. Passing through fields and over hills, they are attacked by cats and buzzards, and even caught up in a typhoon. They hop aboard a boat on the river and drift for days. And when they are crossing the already-snowy mountains, they are caught in a blizzard and feel a deadly urge to sleep. However, Non-Non’s powerful desire to return to her mother’s place of origin and the encouragement the two offer each other allow them to keep pushing north—no matter what injuries they suffer or how soaked they get—conveying to the reader a sense of boundless vital energy. The illustrations add further energy to the story with realistic depictions of ever-changing landscapes and anthropomorphic animals.

    This book was followed by two sequels starring Ganba the brown rat: Bōkenshatachi [The Adventurers] and Ganba to kawauso no bōken [The Adventure of Ganba and the River Otters]. Together, the books are a fondly regarded trilogy. (OM)
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Saitō Atsuo

Born in Niigata Prefecture in 1940. Has long edited children’s books. Has won prizes including the Japan Association of Children’s Literature Scholars Newcomer Prize and the Noma Prize for Juvenile Literature. His works include the Ganba no bōken [Ganba’s Adventure] series, Kappa no Yūta no bōken [Adventure of Yūta the Kappa], Tetsuo no haruyasumi [Tetsuo’s Spring Vacation], a record of a lecture on Seta Teiji called Kodomo to kodomo no hon ni sasageta shōgai [A Life Dedicated to Children and Children’s Books], and a record of a lecture on children’s books called Watashi wa naze fantajī ni mukau no ka [Why I Work on Fantasy].

Yabuuchi Masayuki

Born in Osaka in 1940. Taught himself to paint animals. Went freelance after working on paintings for pictorial and other books at a publishing company. Won awards such as the Sankei Juvenile Literature Publishing Culture Award. His picture books include Kuchibashi [Whose Nose Is Better?] written by Vitaly Bianki and translated by Tanaka Tomoko, Dōbutsu no oyako [Animal Families], and Shippo no hataraki [trans. Animal Tails] written by Kawata Ken, and his pictorial books include Yachō no zukan [Wild Bird Picture Book] and No ya yama ni sumu dōbutsutachi [Animals Living in the Fields and Mountains]. Passed away in 2000.

Translation rights inquiries

Iwanami Shoten, Publishers
(attn. Foreign Rights)
2-5-5 Hitotsubashi, Chiyoda-ku,
Tokyo 101-8002
Email: rights@iwanami.co.jp
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