Hat Tricks (Satoshi Kitamura)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Hat Tricks by Satoshi Kitamura, a splendid tale of a talented magician and her surprising tricks.

What’s this? Why, it’s a black top hat, with two little pointed ears peeking out from inside. Surprise! It’s Hattie the bunny, prestidigitator extraordinaire! She’s about to put on a magic show that will shock and amaze, and the reader can help her perform her mystical tricks. All they have to say are the magic words: “Abracadabra, katakurico… what’s in the hat?” From there, the amazing Hattie will conjure all sorts of friends, from a frightened yellow cat to a massive moose, all from her seemingly bottomless hat. How can Hattie top herself for the grand finale? You’ll just have to wait and see…

Splendid. This whimsical tale features both a light, fun, and genuinely surprising story with charming illustrations and text that was made for reading aloud and audience participation. The chorus of the magic spell was particularly fun to say: a simple phrase for the youngest readers to mimic, and a nice twist on a familiar magical refrain. The animals are adorable and comical, particularly Hattie; I love that Kitamura did not feel the need to “feminize” her look. Hattie dresses in a simple magician’s costume of gold jacket and red bow tie with a magic wand, and her gender is only signified through use of pronouns; no long lashes, bows, or hourglass body shape. The length was perfect for a quick storytime, and JJ had an absolute blast with the playful comedy and characters. This is a great one, especially for group storytimes, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

The Yes (Sarah Bee & Satoshi Kitamura)

Hello, everyone! Our book today is The Yes by Sarah Bee and Satoshi Kitamura, a Seussian parable about the power of positivity over doubt.

In a cave in the great wide Where, there lives a large, friendly, orange beast named the Yes. One day, the Yes goes out to explore the great big Where, and finds that it is filled with Nos, who travel in endless, aggressive packs and discourage the Yes at every turn: from climbing a tree or exploring a forest or swimming a river. Yet in the end, no matter how persistent they may be, while there are hundreds and thousands and millions of Nos, they still are not able to overpower just one single unshakable Yes.

This was a great book! As I mentioned, the text is full of really interesting wordplay that is extremely reminiscent of Dr. Seuss, and is a lot of fun to read aloud (even if I messed up the first page and accidentally read “Nos” as “nawss” – oops). It has a good length, and a wonderful lesson about belief, especially belief in yourself in the face of discouragement. The art is very creative, full of bright colors and unique environments that feel pleasantly otherworldly, and that work really well for the symbolic nature of the story. JJ really seemed to enjoy this one, but this is the sort of motivational story that can easily grow with a child, and we loved it. Baby Bookworm approved!