In this rhyming picture book by Matthew Gollub and Kazuko Stone, a child learns to see monsters as his friends who chase away spooky dreams. Alone on a beach in Japan, the boy sees a tiny oni (monsters) creeping up from the sand. Soon there are two, then three, each with its number written in kanji on its back. The cumulative counting chant begins: "Ichi, ni, san-tun-tun. One, two, three, around they run!" As they beat their taiko drums, they grow larger—and multiply! They carry on wildly, smiling with crooked fangs and red eyes. What will they do with their very largest drum once all ten towering oni are assembled?
With bright watercolor paintings, Stone draws on the folk culture of her native Japan to portray the monsters as both frightening and funny. The author's note further introduces Japanese taiko, oni, and kanji. A chart at the end shows how to draw and pronounce the Japanese numbers one through ten; symbols understood not just in Japan but in China and Korea too!
This story is perfect for introducing Japanese culture, language, and music, along with taiko drumming.