As much as my kids and I love Japanese Kokeshi dolls, I can’t bring myself to let another collection into the house, what with all the stuffed animals and favorite rocks already displayed around my girls’ room.
But, I’ve found a way to combine Kokeshi cute with another collection I can totally get behind: Books! And, trust me, these adorable stories are just as sweet as a shelf full of dolls.
Chronicle Books’ two new stories,Yumi and Aoki, follow the “day in the life” of two Kokeshi–little Japanese wooden dolls. What I love about the titles is that this isn’t just a story to breeze through at bedtime. Instead, the illustrations are made to be looked at and talked about—first because they have so many clever fold-outs, die cuts and “what’s behind the door” flaps. But, also, it’s a peek at a culture that has many differences from our own.
Yumi’s story has her walking through the billboard-laden city to buy a costume for an upcoming party with friends, while Aoki must catch the speedy bullet train to visit her friend in Tokyo. Everything about this book is “kawaii,” or super cute, with tiny smiling faces and adorable animals throughout, while the colors and design are beautifully modern.
The recommended reading age is 4-8 on both of these titles, but my not-too-old-for-cute tweens also adore both of these book, and I often find them next to their beds in the morning. If they fall asleep dreaming about this magical, sweet world of the Kokeshi, that’s okay with me. –Christina