Children's Author / Storyteller / Bilingual Presenter

Ten Oni Drummers


Ten Oni Drummers
Hardcover book


Ten Oni Drummers 

$15.00 / U.S.A. ISBN: 978-1889910-536

Written by Matthew Gollub

Illustrated by Kazuko Stone

Ages 4-8. 32 pages. Full color

SKU: N/A Category:


Awards and Distinctions:

Featured book of the Minneapolis Institute Art’s “Art in Bloom” international spring festival

Critical Acclaim:

“This is a humorous look at nighttime fears, a delightful counting book, and an appealing story poem. The verse is crisp and childlike. Stone’s vibrant, expressive watercolor-and-pencil illustrations strike just the right balance between being scary and funny…The book concludes with a pronunciation guide, background notes, and a number chart. A delightful and unique offering to fill requests for bedtime and counting books.”
—School Library Journal


Parents and teachers of grades pre-K-2nd love reading this story aloud, and children love repeating the raucous counting chant one line one line at a time. Now a perfect pick for bilingual storytime, the oni drummers introduce Japanese culture to English and Spanish speakers alike.

Alone on a beach, in Japan, a boy sees a tiny oni (OH-nee) creeping up from the sand. Soon there are two, then three of the colorful goblins, each with its own 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 bigger and more numerous. They carry on wildly, devour their dinner, 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!

“Perfect fare for fans of wild rumpuses—with an afterword that includes background information on oni (Japanese monsters), taiko (Japanese drums), and charts for writing 1-10 in kanji script.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A delightful and unique offering to fill requests for bedtime and counting books.”      School Library Journal

The Story Begins:

In dreams I gaze upon the sand,

beneath the full moon, in Japan.

I taste the salty wind and sea…


…and sometimes I have company.

One oni by the shore,

rears its head and calls for more.


Two tiny oni creep,

grunt and shake off years of sleep.


Three oni, eyes aglow,

taiko drumming makes them grow.


Ichi, ni, san, TUN-TUN!

One two three, around they run!



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Meet Matthew

I have a passion for encouraging young people to read--and for encouraging parents to read to their kids. "Language, rhythm, color, life!"™ are the threads I weave through my books and presentations. Read more...

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Tortuga Press

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"Language, rhythm, color, life!"™