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 「きょうの おやつは」 by Chinatsu Watanabe


Japanese Title: きょうの おやつは
English Title: It’s Snack Time –Mirror Reflection Makes a Story– (Publisher’s Translation)

Publisher: 福音館書店
Author: わたなべ ちなつ
Illustrator: わたなべ ちなつ

Overall Impression and Summary:

This is a fun mirror book about making pancakes. They have it set up so that some of the objects on the mirror are static (printed over the mirror), which is a really cool idea and adds a new dimension to the book. When you hold the book just right, it actually looks like the egg is falling into a 3-dimensional bowl and it actually looks like the pancake batter is falling into a 3-dimensional skillet. I love the picture of cat smelling the delicious aroma of the pancakes cooking. The publisher’s site has some pictures of the inside–click the book cover to see.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 »

Review of 「ちいさな き」 by Toshiko Kanzawa


Japanese Title: ちいさな き
English Title: LITTLE TREES (Publisher’s Translation)
Publisher: 福音館書店
Author: 神沢 利子(かんざわ としこ)
Illustrator: 高森 登志夫(たかもり としお)

Overall Impression and Summary:

This is a beautiful picture book that shows children how the little trees on the ground are really baby trees that originated from the big trees. I love the vibrant colors showing the changes of the seasons and the simple, repetitive dialogue that takes place between the narrator and the trees. One aspect of the story is finding the “hidden” baby trees among the other plants. The page with the little birch trees could be a bit challenging for small kids since there are quite a few plants on the page, but the other pages are pretty straightforward. The book retains an almost poetic tone throughout and is a pleasure to read.Read More »

Book Review of 「じゃあじゃあ びりびり」 by Noriko Matsui

2 Million+ Copies (As of 2015)

Japanese Title: じゃあじゃあ びりびり
English Title: Gush, Gush, Rip, Rip (Self-Translated)
Publisher: 偕成社
Author: まつい のりこ
Illustrator: まつい のりこ

Overall Impression and Summary:

This is an excellent book for babies that relates familiar things with the sounds they make. Babies will be thrilled to hear the sound that relates to animals, railroad crossings, babies, and more. The book starts out with space for you to write “This book belongs to _____” and ends with the back cover saying, “The end. See you again.” As always, the beauty is in the simplicity.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 「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 »