Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
The 15 Japanese nursery rhymes in this gentle collection include two types: traditional Warabe Uta rhymes and comparatively modern Doyo verses. The nursery rhymes are printed in Japanese text and characters, and are also translated into English. Acraman's graphics combine a polished digital aesthetic with playfully anthropomorphic characters, including three stylized birds perched on a tree ("Little bird, red bird/ Why oh why so red? Because it ate a red fruit") and endearing rabbits wearing "hachimaki" bandannas. Accessible verses and bright, welcoming pictures should have cross-cultural appeal while aiding in language learning. Includes a CD recording of the songs performed both in English and Japanese. Ages 4-8. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Review
PreS-Gr 2-Fifteen rhymes, one per spread, celebrate the changing seasons, flora and fauna, and idyllic rural life, providing an enchanting window into a culture that cherishes its close relationship with nature. Readers need not be familiar with Japan to savor these songs. The author's introduction gives the origins of the selections and presents a clear overview of the three Japanese writing systems. A helpful pronunciation guide assists those new to the language, and occasional footnotes explain cultural references in the song lyrics, such as the significance of carp streamers on Children's Day. The nursery rhymes appear in an easy-to-read format that boosts language comprehension during sing-alongs, with each line printed in Japanese characters, romanized Japanese, and English. Children will pore over the brightly colored illustrations that evoke a warm, inviting image of the country. Vivid, graphical artwork in the style of modern woodblock prints depicts happy children and endearing animals while incorporating Japanese motifs such as tiled-roof houses, kimonos, and tanuki (raccoon dogs). The accompanying music CD is vital to this book's enjoyment as it teaches the tunes and aids in pronunciation. The audio recordings are pleasant, gentle renditions in both Japanese and English. This collection holds appeal for anyone interested in the country and would be a wonderful addition to an international-themed storytime.-Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
When her child was born, Wright looked for nursery rhymes from around the world. In Japanese nursery rhymes, I found very beautiful and delicate verses with an emphasis on the natural world and dedicated to the many tiny movements that make childhood special, she writes. The book she has created, along with New Zealand artist Acraman, is very special as well. Each poem is introduced in a two-page spread. The words are written in Japanese script, a Roman alphabet transliteration, and the English translation. The spacious format gives the art a chance to perform its magic. Pure saturated colors honey yellows, tomato reds, and heavenly blues are the backdrops for pictures that have the effect of woodcuts. The poems themselves show off the charm and delicacy Wright discusses in her introduction. In the rhyme Snow, for example, a girl enjoys warm noodles in a cozy home, while outside the bare trees become covered in snowy flowers. An accompanying CD adds to the book's usefulness and delight.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist
Horn Book Review
Warm, flat art illustrates these fifteen songs--rhymes traditionally sung in games and modern songs written for singing in school. Little additional information is provided, and the English translations are awkward, especially on the audio CD. But language learners will appreciate the Japanese/romanized Japanese/English text, and the CD's guitar accompaniment is a welcome alternative to the numerous widely available Muzak-like versions of these songs. (c) Copyright 2012. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
Fifteen short, simple songs in Japanese and English seem to be designed more for language practice than actual sharing. The poems are presented line by line in Japanese characters (three different kinds are used, though only one per poem), a phonetic transcription and a loose but clunky and unrhymed English translation. They include authentically childlike celebrations of rabbits dancing ("Come see, come see the adorable dance / Hoppedy hop, hoppedy hop"), carp streamers "swimming happily in the air" and falling rain ("Picchi picchi chappu chappu / Splish splash, splish splash"). There are also wistful memories of "My Hometown" and a festival song that begins, "Our village guardian god's generosity / Is what we celebrate on this joyous day / Boom boom, whistle whistle." On an accompanying CD, tracks identified only by numbers alternate Japanese and English performances of each entry (the former sounding far more natural than the latter), sung in very high voices over solo guitar accompaniments. There is no printed music. Acraman's art is more toddler-friendly than the lyrics, with plenty of muted but distinct colors and simple, blocky forms. The Japanese versions' bouncy rhythms are lost in translation, and even hopes for the sort of cultural insights that folk poetry affords go unfulfilled, since nearly all of the selections are attributed to modern lyricists and composers. (Bilingual nursery songs. 1-4)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.