Book Review of 「つみきだいさくせん」 by Hiroyuki Arai

Japanese Title: つみきだいさくせん
English Title: Operation Rescue Blocks (Self-Translated)
新井洋行 (あらいひろゆき)
新井洋行 (あらいひろゆき)

Overall Impression and Summary:

Super cute book about a bunch of blocks working together to save a little block that is stuck up high on a dresser. Your kids will love the pull out page at the end that folds out to show the blocks finally reaching the poor, little crying block. There’s a great picture of this cute scene on the publisher’s website–click on the cover picture to see.Read More »


Book Review of 「だっこ」 by Hiromi Nakano

Japanese Title: だっこ
English Title: Hold Me! (Self-Translated)
なかの ひろみ、まつもと よしこ

Overall Impression and Summary:

This is a great book to teach your kids ordinal numbers from 1 to 10 in a fun, playful way. The book lists 10 animals and the different ways they hold their babies. Kids are sure to recognize most of the animals with the exception of the tern. (I didn’t even know that one in English.) Wonderful pictures and super-cute text.

I laughed to myself because a few of the photos in here are by Suzi Eszterhas, who took the pictures for an elephant book I reviewed.Read More »

Book Review of 「かさ さしてあげるね」 by Setsuko Hasegawa

Under the Umbrellas Book Cover

Japanese Title: かさ さしてあげるね
English Title: UNDER THE UMBRELLA… (Publisher’s Translation)
Publisher: 福音館書店
Author: はせがわ せつこ
Illustrator:にしまき かやこ

Overall Impression and Summary:

This is an adorable story about a little boy who walks through the rain giving umbrellas of various sizes to the animals getting rained on. The last two pages have no text–just animals basking in the rays of the sun. You can see a preview of the inside pages by clicking on the book cover.Read More »

Review of 「こぐまちゃんと ぼーる」 by Ken Wakayama


Japanese Title: こぐまちゃんと ぼーる
English Title: Little Bear and a Ball (Self-Translated)
Publisher: こぐま社
Author: わかやま けん、もり ひさし、わだ よしおみ
Illustrator: わかやま けん

Overall Impression and Summary:

Another great book by Koguma Publishing. Follow Little Bear as she throws around her cute orange ball. Filled with lots of enthusiasm, she accidentally tosses it far away and then can’t find it. Children are sure to relate to poor Little Bear as she cries in dismay. This book is a great way to take kids through the emotions of losing something you love and the happy ending makes this a classic book the whole family will enjoy reading again and again.Read More »

Book Review of 「ぱん だいすき」 by Kiyoshi Soya

Japanese Title: ぱん だいすき
English Title: OUR FAVORITE BREADS (Publisher’s Translation)
Publisher: 福音館書店
Author: 征矢 清(そや きよし)
Illustrator: ふくしま あきえ

Overall Impression and Summary:

The pictures in this book are absolutely stunning. You can almost smell the bread as the author entices you with the various delicious breads typically sold in Japanese bakeries. The first two pages show a shot of the inside of a bakery and over 20 different kinds of bread for sale. The book is shown from the perspective of someone choosing which breads they will buy from a bakery. At the end of the book, they sit down at a perfectly set table to eat their selections. Because they don’t show you the person buying everything, it makes it that much easier to insert yourself into the story. Read More »

Book Review of 「いない いない ばあ」 by Miyoko Matsutani

6 Million+ Copies (As of 2017)

Japanese Title: いない いない ばあ
English Title: Peek-a-Boo
Publisher: 童心社
Author: 松谷 みよ子
Illustrator: 瀬川 康男

Overall Impression and Summary:

This is a straightforward peek-a-boo book that all kids are sure to love. Each animal covers their eyes on one page and then has outstretched arms with big, wide-open eyes on the next. The last two pages are a cute little girl named Non-chan, with cute, beady little eyes and a blue dress with stars. As with most all baby books, the genius is in the simplicity.Read More »

Book Review of 「よしよしなでなで」 by Mari Tokunaga

There There Pat Pat English Review

Japanese Title: よしよしなでなで
English Title: There, There, Pat, Pat (Self-Translated)
Publisher: アリス館
Author: とくなが まり
Illustrator: いりやま さとし

Overall Impression and Summary:

This is a beautiful book about a little girl named Nana listening to her little baby brother sleep. Like all toddlers, she is curious and starts to touch the chubby baby a little too much, which wakes him up. They both cry and then mommy comes to the rescue. The story is simple enough and big kids are sure to relate.Read More »

Book Review of 「すきすき どうぶつ」 by Mitsuhiko Imamori

Animal Love English Review

Japanese Title: すきすき どうぶつ
English Title: Animal Love (Self-Translated)
Publisher: 童心社
Author: 今森 光彦(いまもり みつひこ)
Illustrator: 今森 洋輔(いまもり ようすけ)

Overall Impression and Summary:

The illustrations in this book are just gorgeous! Everything looks so life-like and every page is carefully drawn for maximum impact. My favorite picture in the book is the chipmunk with his cheeks stuffed full of food. The book does not have a set plot but simply contains random comments about the things animals like and the things they do, which of course kids want to know.Read More »

Book Review of 「おーくん おんぶ」 by Ken Katayama

Japanese Title: おーくん おんぶ
English Title: HE LOVES CARRYING STUFFED DOLLS ON HIS BACK (Publisher’s Translation)
Publisher: 福音館書店
Author: かたやま けん
Illustrator: かたやま けん

Overall Impression and Summary:

This is a really cute book. The story starts out with little Oh-kun asking his mom, “Oh-kun piggyback!” The mother misunderstands that he wants to be picked up, when in reality, he wants to pick up all his animals and put them on his back, but needs help to do so. The mom straps all the toys to his back and then he falls down. (The mom’s face is not shown in the book.) Read More »

Book Review of 「しろくまちゃんのほっとけーき」 by Ken Wakayama

Almost 3 Million Copies (As of August 2017)

Japanese Title: しろくまちゃんのほっとけーき
English Title: White Bear’s Pancakes (Self-Translated)
Publisher: こぐま社
Author: わかやま けん
Illustrator: わかやま けん

Overall Impression and Summary:

This is cute book about a little white bear that makes pancakes. She starts out making the pancakes on her own, but then the mom comes to help. Once they are finished making the pancakes, little white bear calls her friend and they eat together. The pictures are drawn simply and the expression on the animals’ faces do not change throughout the book. This can be annoying at first, but once you realize that makes the animals more like the real stuffed toys your kids play with in real life, it’s actually brilliant.Read More »