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 »


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 「あかあかくろくろ」 by Akio Kashiwara

Aka Aka Kuro Kuro English Review

Japanese Title: あかあかくろくろ
English Title: Red, Red, White, White (Self-Translated)
Publisher: 学研

Author: 柏原 晃夫(かっしー)
柏原 晃夫(かっしー)

Overall Impression and Summary:

This is another great book that kids will love. The whole book is contrasting colors of red, white, and black with a few splashes of other colors thrown in. Supposedly this is easier for kids as young as 6 months to see well, but I can’t vouch as to whether that’s accurate or not. There are no all-out complete sentences in here, so if you’re looking for more grown-up stuff, this book isn’t the way to go. There’s not a whole lot of vocabulary to work with but I love the pictures. Read More »

Book Review of 「ころころまるちゃん どこ」 by La ZOO

Japanese Title: ころころまるちゃん どこ
English Title: Where Are You Little Rolly-Rolly Circles? (Self-Translated)
Publisher: 教育画劇

Author: La ZOO
Illustrator: La ZOO

Overall Impression and Summary:

“Where Are You Little Rolly-Rolly Circle(s)?” is another lovely book that has received lots of love in my house. Follow the cute little red and yellow circles as they turn into flowers, buttons, pig noses, fish, and more. Small kids will have a blast trying to “find” (they’re always in the same spot) the little circle friends. It’s not very long (20 pages), but it packs a lot into the few pages it’s got and is a great way to encourage kids who are just starting out with Japanese to get a feel for the language.Read More »

Book Review of 「おべんとうバス」 by Mariko Shinju

Japanese Title: おべんとうバス
English Title: Lunch Box Bus
Publisher: ひさかたチャイルド

Author: 真珠 まりこ (しんじゅ まりこ)
Illustrator: 真珠 まりこ (しんじゅ まりこ)

Overall Impression and Summary:

This is a sweet book about a bunch of food loading themselves onto a bus. The book provides great talking points and it’s fun to make a bunch of different voices for all the characters. Kids who are familiar with Japanese food are sure to love this one.Read More »