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とびらを開く 絵本

絵本の効用と選び方(特別編)

投稿日:2018年11月11日 更新日:

幼児向け絵本のベストセラー『はらぺこあおむし』(エリック=カール 絵 文 偕成社刊)の翻訳者・森比左志さんが101歳で一昨日お亡くなりになりました。小学校での教員経験のある森さんが優れた海外の絵本を世に紹介した功績は大きいと思います。

ストーリーは一匹のあおむしが食欲にまかせてあらゆるものを食べた結果、お腹が痛くなって苦しみますが、やがて蛹になり美しい蝶に生まれ変わるといういたってシンプルな物語です。

美しい色やおいしそうな食べ物、それに昆虫。子どもが好きになるものが、たくさん詰め込まれた一冊ですが、そのことだけが、日本語を含む60か国以上の言葉に翻訳され、世界で愛されている理由ではありません。

この一匹のあおむしの物語には、欲望のままに行動した結果痛い目に遭うけれども、心から反省したことで美しい蝶に生まれ変わることができたという教訓が込められています。

このように、昔読んだことのある小さな子ども向けの本でも、質の高い本はたくさんあります。そんな本を見つけ、子どもに気づかせてあげることが、本に対する興味をさらにかきたてられるのは間違いありません。絵本は子どもだけのものではありません。幼児・小学生から大人まで、その年齢に応じた楽しみ方があります。

森さんのご冥福を祈りながら、絵本の持つ役割をもう一度考えたいと思います。


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