Children's Book Review by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.com
Yumi, a delightful children's picture book about a Japanese kokeshi doll. Today, I want to share a new find with you. Aoki is another in the kokeshi series by Annelore Parot, published by Hardie Grant Egmont (2011).
Meet Yumi, the youngest of the Kokeshi. She is adventurous and clever. She takes great pride in everything she does, and personifies the universe that artist Annelore Parot has created for her characters. She loves to dress up, go to school, go to parties and solve problems! Help Yumi to find the right Kimono to wear, and learn Japanese phrases. Find Yumi's friends, and then choose an outfit for a dress-up party! Decide the best sushi for Yumi to eat and then fall into a Kokeshi filled dream!
Aoki is just as elegant and sumptuous as Yumi. Parot has kept to the formula that little girls loved in Yumi - padded and appliqued cover, characters who genuinely look just like kokeshi dolls, lots of intriguing patterns in the art work, and little puzzles to solve behind flaps and through windows. Even the endpapers have that certain je ne sais quoi, a style that will have kids asking for more.
The story isn't complicated. It's a journey with a happy conclusion though, and lots of opportunities along the way to learn a little about Japanese culture and language. Exposing children to other cultures through literature is such a good way to develop tolerance and empathy - throw in the fun of a puzzle book and a toy theme and it seems Egmont have another winner!
Read another review of Aoki at Buzz Words Books. Click Reviews in the right sidebar to read more children's book reviews at www.thebookchook.com