Book Review of 「生き物たちの冬ごし図鑑 昆虫」 by CHOUBUNSHA PUBLISHING

Japanese Title: 生き物たちの冬ごし図鑑 昆虫(いきものたちのふゆごしずかん こんちゅう)
English Title: Wintering Creatures Illustrated Reference Book – Insects (Self-Translated)
星 輝行

Overall Impression and Summary:

This is a fantastic little reference book for learning about some of the bugs you see around you while living in Japan. You’ll learn specific names for various butterflies, moths, mantises, and many more. It’s really fascinating to learn what bugs are up to during the winter months. Everything is put together really well to help you take it all in. The life cycle of each bug is laid out in an easy-to-understand format and you can feel the author’s enthusiasm for bugs on every page.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 「どうぶつの赤ちゃんとおかあさん ゾウ」 by Saela Shobo

Japanese Title: どうぶつの赤ちゃんとおかあさん ゾウ
English Title: Eye on the Wild: Elephant (Originally in English)
スージー・エスターハス (Suzi Eszterhas)
Translator: 渋谷弘子

Overall Impression and Summary:

This is a wonderful book for older kids who want to learn more about the life cycle of  elephants. Follow the young elephant as he grows up and then eventually goes out on his own. The photos are absolutely gorgeous and the various facts presented are sure to fascinate both parents and child. This would make for great independent reading for older elementary school kids. Click “Cover Coming Soon” to see a preview of the inside on the publisher’s website.

This is the 2nd in a series of 3 books, but I have yet to read the others.Read More »

Book Review of 「かじをけす じどうしゃ」 by Mamoru Suzuki

Japanese Title: かじをけす じどうしゃ
English Title: Fire Extinguishing Vehicles (Self-Translated)
Publisher: 金の星社

Author: 鈴木まもる
Illustrator: 鈴木まもる

Overall Impression and Summary:

I loved the cover on this book when I saw it in the library. This is a great book for boys. It’s got lots of vocation specific vocabulary for firefighting that will leave you feeling like an expert. The story starts out with a little boy calling 119 (the fire department) to report a fire, which spreads and spreads. The book is filled with adventure that makes children wonder, “What will become of the fire?” “What vehicle will appear to help next?”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 「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 「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 「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 「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 »

Book Review of 「ぞうくんの さんぽ」 by Hirotaka Nakano

Zoukun No Sanpo English Review

Japanese Title: ぞうくんの さんぽ
English Title: THE ELEPHANT HAPPY (Publisher’s Translation)
Publisher: 福音館書店
Author: なかの ひろたか
Illustrator: なかの ひろたか

Overall Impression and Summary:

This is a lovely, thick board book about an elephant inviting other animals to take a walk. First comes hippo, then comes alligator, and last comes turtle; they all hitch a ride on the elephant’s back and finally topple over into a pond. The animals’ faces remain almost the same throughout the book, which don’t look very happy to me, but kids will love the characters just the same. You can see some preview pictures for this at the publisher’s website by clicking on the book cover.Read More »