Mari Takabayashi was born in Tokyo, Japan, and studied at Otsuma Women's College. She illustrated Flannel Kisses and Marshmallow Kisses and is the author and illustrator of I Live in Brooklyn and I Live in Toyko. She lives with her husband and their two children in New York.
Bright, bustling illustrations abound in this pictorial peek at Japanese life and customs through the eyes of a Tokyo schoolgirl. Mimiko takes readers on a journey through the calendar year, highlighting each month's important traditions. Takabayashi (Marshmallow Kisses) devotes a two-page spread to each month, filling it with petite, concentrated watercolors (many of them captioned in Japanese and English). Pictures of Mimiko's 10 favorite meals (curry rice and tempura top the list) fill one page, while 20 appealing wagashi cakes for a tea ceremony occupy another. Takabayashi marks the start of school in April with intricate pictures of school uniforms, Japanese notebooks and school lunches. On the facing page, she acquaints readers with Japanese writing and forms a clever border by pictorially showing how 10 kanji characters (Chinese characters used in Japanese writing) evolved from the pictures they represent. Such versatile artwork demonstrates the text's examples throughout the book. Though the busy layout may be visually overwhelming at times, it invites readers to slow down and savor each picture. A glossary of Japanese words and numerals plus some simple phrases conclude this informative volume. From Ichigatsu (January) to Junigatsu (December), Takabayashi accessibly and handsomely gives children a taste of life in Tokyo. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
K-Gr 2-Seven-year-old Mimiko leads readers through a year highlighting the festivals, activities, food, and her family's daily routine. The name of each month is written along the left border in phonetic Japanese, English, and Kanji (Chinese characters used in Japanese writing). January begins with oshogatsu, a New Year celebration. The illustration depicts the family having a special meal, and various holiday items. The facing page is about calligraphy, or shodo. The illustration shows mother and daughter practicing their brushwork (January 2nd is said to be perfect for writing), as well as the Japanese zodiac, and a racket used for Japanese badminton, which seems out of place. Other festivals included are setsubun, celebrated the day before the first day of spring (February 3rd); the Bon Festival in July; and school field day (undokai) in October. Readers learn that Valentine's Day is celebrated, and although Christmas is not, Mimiko observes the tradition of decorating a tree. The last page lists the months again, with a pronunciation guide, as well as common words and phrases. This book's gentle, childlike watercolor illustrations capture an array of special and mundane events in one youngster's life. An appealing browsing item rather than fodder for reports.-DeAnn Tabuchi, San Anselmo Public Library, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Bright, bustling illustrations abound in this pictorial peek at Japanese life and customs through the eyes of a Tokyo schoolgirl. --Publishers Weekly Publishers Weekly
Takabayashi offers little ones a child's-eye view of life in suburban Tokyo, along with a chance to roll some Japanese words and phrases around on their tongues. --Booklist Booklist, ALA