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)
Publisher:
汐文社
Author:
輝行
Photos:
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 »

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Book Review of 「だっこ」 by Hiromi Nakano

Japanese Title: だっこ
English Title: Hold Me! (Self-Translated)
Publisher:
アリス館
Author:
なかの ひろみ、まつもと よしこ
Photos:
ネイチャー・プロダクション


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)
Publisher:
さ・え・ら書房
Author:
スージー・エスターハス (Suzi Eszterhas)
Editor:
成島悦雄
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 「うんどうの絵本 – かけっこ」 by Akane Shobo Publishing


Japanese Title: うんどうの絵本 – かけっこ
English Title: Exercise Picture Book: The Race (Self-Translated)
Publisher: あかね書房
Editor: 西薗 一也(にしぞの かずや)
Illustrator: 左藤 芳美(さとう よしみ)


 

Overall Impression and Summary:

This book is sure to please your elementary school boys out there. The story is told from the perspective of a boy named Kakeru at his school’s Sport’s Festival when his turn comes to race. Once the story starts with Kakeru standing there, nervous, and sweating, ready to run the race, the reader is taken through a series of flashbacks which show all the work he had to do to prepare for the moment. The book transitions from flashback to the real race back to flashback until the end of the race. I love that they tell kids to keep running their best until the very end of the race no matter what. The book has lots and lots of tips for young runners to make sure they don’t hurt themselves while racing. Some of the tips made me laugh like “using your bum to walk” (おしり歩き), which entails sitting on the floor and then using your bum muscles to “walk” ahead.Read More »

Book Review of 「きょうの おやつは」 by Chinatsu Watanabe

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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 »

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 「ちいさな き」 by Toshiko Kanzawa

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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 「おままごと」 by Emiko Sunayama


Japanese Title: おままごと
English Title: Pretending to Be Mommy (Self-Translated)
Publisher: こぐま社
Author: 砂山恵美子(すなやま えみこ)
Illustrator: 砂山恵美子(すなやま えみこ)


Overall Impression and Summary:

If you have little girls in your home, this book is sure to get your attention right away. The story follows a cute little girl who uses various outdoor objects to make food for her little stuffed pig’s birthday. At the end of the book she makes 3 little sand cakes, but trips and falls, which ruins them. She cries, but then comes up with a great idea to fix it. The story is priceless and your kids are sure to love it.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 »