Books by Hiroe Nakata

ONE MORE HUG by Megan Alexander
Released: Nov. 12, 2019

"Less pathological than Love You Forever but aimed at the same audience. (Picture book. 5-10)"
The reassurance of "one more hug" allows a little boy to take on fears, new challenges, and responsibilities as he grows into an older boy, adolescent, and finally young man. Read full book review >
BABY'S BLESSINGS by Lesléa Newman
Released: Oct. 1, 2019

"A sweet celebration of a baby, full of Jewish tradition. (Board book. 1-3)"
A Jewish family celebrates a baby with traditional symbols and rituals. Read full book review >
NOT THAT TUTU! by Michelle Sinclair Colman
Released: Feb. 12, 2013

"Attracted by the little tulle tutu on the cover, little ones seeking a ballet-themed tale may be disappointed, but this outing will resonate with any youngster who has worn a favorite outfit to shreds. (Board book. 2-4)"
Taylor, with a recognizably preschool fashion sense, wears her tutu everywhere. Read full book review >
ALL OF BABY, NOSE TO TOES by Victoria Adler
Released: June 1, 2009

Speech pathologist Adler harnesses her knowledge of language to introduce baby's cutest body parts (all of them) through playful sounds, words, beats and rhyme. Light, lovely verse delivers gleeful repetitions of vowel and consonant sounds; words bubble and bounce, coming together in firm, satisfying stress patterns. A small reader will proudly pound a fist as they declare their tummy is "smooth and tight / as a drum-drum-drummy!" Beautiful recurrences occur in Nakata's sunny watercolor illustrations as well. Spring colors surround the adorable baby girl and her doting family, all with rosy cheeks, alert eyes and ready smiles. Each body part receives the same treatment: a close-up on left page, followed by a four-square quadrant of action images on right. A closing question surfaces again and again, "Who loves baby's [toes, legs, ears]?" The following page reveals a family member exclaiming, "Me! I do." Readers come to anticipate this warm affirmation and join in the chorus. This intuitive picture book exposes children to the beauty of language, their bodies and a communal expression of love. (Picture book. 0-3)Read full book review >
DUCK DUNKS by Lynne Berry
Released: June 1, 2008

"Ducks in swimsuits. One with a float / One with a kite and cakes in a tote. / Five with towels—one towel each! / Five little ducks on their way to the beach." The five rambunctious, adventurous ducklings from Duck Skates (2005) return for a sandy excursion in Berry and Nakata's second collaboration. They dive and swim and splash in the sea. Back on land, they picnic and fly their kite. They play tag and leapfrog, and they try to catch a crab, with disastrous results. After watching the sun sink, there's time for one last dip in the ocean before they waddle home for a much-needed snooze. The rhythmic verse perfectly matches the wavering, swirling, beach-bright watercolors. As delicate as its wee principals, the intimate trim size and small compositions are best suited for lap sharing. After a read or three, listeners will chant right along, hoping there are more outings planned for this ducky family. (Picture book. 2-5) Read full book review >
SHOE BOP! by Marilyn Singer
Released: June 1, 2008

Singer weaves a collection of fanciful poems into a clever salute to shoes. When her adored sneakers deteriorate, a young girl must go shopping for new footwear. However, the sheer abundance of options at the store spurs an effervescent outpouring detailing the delights of shoes. The format of the tale strings together a chain of poems to create a cohesive narrative, neatly using bridging phrases in a larger display type to move the story along. Her sassy poems offer readers a sprightly sampling of forms, as the gloriousness of shoes is explored through limericks, jaunty rhymes and a splendidly keen haiku about "Moccasins." Nakata's watercolor illustrations are imbued with a suitable joie de vivre, which is complemented by her palette of fresh colors. This sparkling tale serves as a fun introduction to poetry as well as a paean to the undeniable appeal of new shoes. (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)Read full book review >
TWO IS FOR TWINS by Wendy Cheyette Lewison
Released: May 1, 2006

"Twins are two-er than anyone." What better subject for a concept book on two than twins. Lewison's simple rhymes begin with the twos around us: "Two eyes look up. Two eyes look down. / Two ears can hear a jingly sound." They progress to describing the relationship of identical twin boy toddlers at home and preschool: "Sometimes they wear matching clothes. / Then they're two from nose to toes." Doubling the fun culminates at the twins' third birthday party. Although some rhymes are forced, this is a worthy selection for young readers, given the paucity of books about twins and children's keen interest in the subject. What will delight preschoolers the most are Nakata's colorful, spirited watercolors of children at play. Each illustration sports a plethora of pairs (snails, swings, braids, etc.) to discover and to help master the number two. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
BABY SHOES by Dashka Slater
Released: May 1, 2006

What happens when an active toddler gets a pair of brand-new shows? Lots! Mama lets Baby chose new shoes "white as light" with a "stripe of blue." The swell new white shoes are so "high-jumping, fast-running [and] fine looking" that Mama and Baby take a walk. Along the way, Baby draws with red chalk, spins in green grass, steps on purple plums, hops across fresh yellow crosswalk paint and splashes in muddy brown puddles. Every time Mama tries to stop Baby, his new shoes "just go, go, go." By the time Mama and Baby get home the new white shoes aren't white any more, but "colored bright in many hues." Lighthearted multi-hued watercolor illustrations show an exuberant Baby doing everything a wee boy will do when he's got spiffy new shoes. Fast-moving rhyme and playful illustrations invite kids on the go to scuff, scrape and have a blast breaking them in. (Picture book. 2-6)Read full book review >
MOMMY IN MY POCKET by Carol Hunt Senderak
Released: April 1, 2006

Separation anxiety can be a factor for both mommy and child when anticipating the first day of school. This little bunny wishes her mom could shrink to just the right size, fit in her pocket, "near my beating heart," and safely be with her all day. With mommy secretly close by, little bunny could enjoy reading, lunch, art and even playtime. Nakata's mixed-media cartoon-style paintings, some single scenes, others four to a page, and some full-page spreads, add details to a somewhat uneven rhymed text. "At playtime, I would run about, / Watching my pocket so Mommy wouldn't fall out." Little bunny concludes feeling more comfortable by spiritually keeping mommy's hug and kiss with her. "Yet when school starts, I know I'll be okay, / Because the love in Mommy's hug and kiss . . . / will stay with me all day!" Additional fare when compared with the classic Will I Have a Friend, by Miriam Cohen (1967), or the popular The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn (1993). (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
WINTER FRIENDS by Mary Quattlebaum
Released: Oct. 11, 2005

An uneven collection of poems tells the story of one winter day spent playing outside and making new friends. Quattlebaum's verses give voice to a young girl's observations, and many of them are evocative and believably childlike. She uses a variety of forms to good effect, including haiku and concrete poems. Occasionally, however, her rhymes seem forced (a dog says "yop" to rhyme with "stop") or sing-song-y. And some poems seem too sophisticated in vocabulary or concept to fit the child's narrative voice. Nakata's colorful watercolors extend the story considerably while also contributing to the sense of disconnect with the more complex poems. They show a cheerful blond preschooler (at the most—in some pictures she looks like a toddler) waking up on a snowy day, heading outside with her mother, finding a blue mitten, connecting with the young boy who lost it, sledding in the park and finishing the day with a cozy cocoa party. Bright colors and simple rounded shapes show up well against the snowy white backgrounds. Not essential, but fun. (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)Read full book review >
DUCK SKATES by Lynne Berry
Released: Oct. 1, 2005

Five ducklings could not be more excited over the hefty snowfall outside their windows. They grab their hats, coats, boots and skates; two are so wound up they can't wait for the others and so run ahead. They all skate, have a great snowball fight, skate some more and head for home to dry off and have cocoa and cake before curling up in front of a fire. Berry's first children's book is a rambunctious, rhyming ode to the joys of group skates and winter fun. The text hides cagey little numbers lessons and reinforcements of the idea of pairs (of skates, boots, ducks). Nakata's watercolor-and-ink paintings extend the exuberance of the rhyme. Her downy waterfowl slip, bounce, topple and slide across every illustration, some spot, others nearly full-bleed. Even though ducks seem to grace every picture book these days, this one's a first purchase. Storytimers will have just one word for you when you finish this: AGAIN! (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
OCEAN BABIES by Deborah Lee Rose
Released: May 1, 2005

A beautiful peek at the marine circle of life. Large spare text layered over simply rendered watercolors highlight the diversity of animal life found in the sea. "Big as a bus, and smaller than seeds," the opposites found among ocean animals present themselves: single or multiple births, born live or oviparous, traveling to find food or waiting for food to come along. The use of familiar vocabulary and comparisons brings it all to the level of a young child. The last four pages offer a paragraph of information about each featured animal next to a thumbnail reproduced from the corresponding text. This format will provide adults with the knowledge needed to answer questions about the animals, but is not conducive to reading aloud. Nakata's artwork perfectly fits the text: Soft colors and muted details have the reader seemingly looking through the water at the animals. A touching look at birth and perfect for reminiscing about the births of loved ones. (resource list) (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
UP! by Kristine O'Connell George
Released: March 28, 2005

George deftly captures the frenetic life that is toddlerhood in this sprightly outing designed primarily as a concept tale to convey the notion of "up." She uses short, snappy rhymes delivered in staccato fashion to express a toddler's boundless enthusiasm for all things, including being aloft. A trip to the park, scaling the great height of the playground slide and even tumbling down a grassy knoll provide useful contrasts of being up versus down. George's fun-filled romp is tempered with poignancy as tot and pop settle on a branch—after climbing up the tree—in a rare moment of stillness. Nakata's watercolor illustrations burst off the pages in a riot of invigorating hues, mingling lemon yellow, crisp sea-foam green and vibrant tangerine hues to create a visual palette that is as vivacious as the tale. George's bubbly tale is just the right thing to capture a bustling toddler's attention. (Picture book. 2-4)Read full book review >
PAJAMAS ANYTIME by Marsha Hayles
Released: Feb. 1, 2005

A little pajama-clad boy recalls special times through out the year when he can wear his cozy and colorful pajamas. Worn on a snow day in January, on family night in March, and while watching the fireworks on the Fourth of July, the black-haired preschooler leaps across the pages in his PJs, singing the refrain "Time for pajamas, my jamas, mine-o." The playful and bright watercolor and gouache paintings depict a warm and loving family, and are the strongest part of this package. Told in rhyme and following the calendar year, there are some lovely images here, but the language seems forced at times. Fittingly illustrated by pajama designer Nakata, this looks to be a fun choice for bedtime, but the slight story makes it a title most libraries can do without. (Picture book. 2-6)Read full book review >
GOT TO DANCE by M.C. Helldorfer
Released: May 11, 2004

Nakata's joyously exuberant watercolor illustrations flow gracefully throughout this story of an African-American child's summer day filled with playful dance movements. The unnamed little girl and her grandfather spend the day together, making pancakes, playing on the sidewalk, and visiting the zoo, with some additional solo activities for the child, such as bouncing on the bed and playing dress-up. Each activity inspires a different type of unstructured dancing by the little girl, with her grandfather often joining in. Sometimes the dancing is purely imaginary (hopping like a penguin or twirling up into the clouds in shoes with wings) and sometimes the movements are related to actual dance varieties such as a jig or tap dancing. The hand-lettered text describing the dancing activities is not as agile as it should be for a dance-themed story: sometimes it's hard to read aloud, and sometimes it stumbles in rhyme or rhythm. The story strains for agility and comes across as rather pedestrian, but the bouncy illustrations are full of razzle-dazzle that fulfills the promise of the title. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2004

Awaiting the arrival of her sibling, a young toddler is regaled with tales of the story regarding her own birth. Lund's prose neatly captures the natural conversational rhythm between tot and parent. As the mother reminisces, the child eagerly interjects with comments and questions, reveling in the notion that she too made her mommy's belly so big that her mom had to be pushed up hills and so forth. Liberally laced with humorous anecdotes, Lund offers a toddler-friendly, generalized version of pregnancy and birth and the surrounding emotions. Readers searching for technical description of gestation and birth will need to look elsewhere. Nakata's watercolor illustrations are colorful and comic. Soft tones dominate the paintings, which portray both the current and historical events. The mother's reminiscences are delineated by amoeba-like borders with a small vignette of the toddler's gleeful reactions included in the corner of each spread. Warm-hearted and compassionate, this tale is ideal for sharing with expectant siblings, who will appreciate this subtle reminder of their own individuality. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
Released: May 19, 2003

A cheery tale in child-bright colors offers a city vs. country theme. A little boy and his mom take a taxi from their city apartment to the train and then to Nonna and Pop-Pop's house in the country, where "the whole blue sky reaches all the way down to the flower beds." In the country, he rides a tractor, not an elevator, and there's no deli on the corner, but there are cows. In the city, flowers come from the corner shop, but at Nonna's, they grow beside the kitchen door. He relates in the sweetest of language how there's no rushing for school and work at Nonna's, there's always time for making pancakes. But when he gets back home to the city, he can hold the moon in his hands from his city window, just like he could at Nonna's. Nakata's fresh, dappled watercolors perfectly suit this story, with its apple-cheeked figures, flower-covered countryside, and lively cityscape that looks, with its yellow taxis and glimpse of the Empire State Building, just like a happy New York City. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
WHAT KIND OF KISS? by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Released: Dec. 1, 2001

Osculation is the name of the game in this cheerful little tale packed full of love. From sunrise to sunset, a tot explores his family's favorite form of smooching. Mama favors good morning kisses to start the day while Papa enjoys kisses redolent of shaving cream and juice, just enough to last the entire day. Even the family dog and a friendly bird are petitioned for their preferred form of salutes, involving wet noses and wriggly worms. The simple story concludes with a medley of the little one's most beloved expressions of affection. Nakata's (The Garden That We Grew, p. 802, etc.) bright artwork combined with the playful layout of the pages is integral to the overall appeal. Double flaps ingeniously expand the illustrations—each turn of the flap whimsically depicts a favorite type of kiss, ultimately unfolding to reveal an oversized illustration. Rendered in a bright palette of colors, Nakata features inviting scenes of a merry little bear and his loving family. A warm and cozy depiction of the contented bliss of a well-loved child. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 2001

Holub (Scat, Cats!, above, etc.) uses a rhyming, patterned text to follow a group of five young children experiencing the growth cycle with pumpkins, from planting seeds all the way through to jack-o'-lanterns, pumpkin bread, and seeds saved for next year's garden. The simple text at the 2.4 level uses a "this is the —" pattern throughout, with rhyming couplets that encourage prediction of closing words. The sequential storyline covers both the necessary elements of nature (tilled soil, water, sun, worms, and bees) and the work by gardeners required for growing healthy plants. Nakata's (Lucky Pennies and Hot Chocolate, 2000) cheerful watercolors of round-headed children are charming and generally complement the text, but the color palate is not as bright as it should be to reflect the vibrant, bouncy rhymes, especially for a title that will be used for reading to a group, as well as by individual readers. Nonetheless, easy nonfiction titles about seed cycles are always in demand for first- and second-grade science lessons, and Holub's story will also be used for preschool or kindergarten story hours in October, when pumpkin stories are as popular as full-sized candy bars on Halloween night. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 5-8)Read full book review >
DON’T STEP ON THE SKY by Miriam Chaikin
Released: April 1, 2001

Chaikin (Clouds of Glory, 1998, etc.) defines haiku in traditional form in her introduction and goes on to say that today haiku does not always follow that three-line, seventeen-syllable model. "On the first line, five / On the second line, seven / On the third, five more." These mostly vivid and utterly accessible haiku are full of images young people will recognize. "A cardinal in the yard. / My heart stops. / A red secret." "The cat sits on her haunches, / watching the street. / How like an eggplant!" The title poem refers to reflection: "After the rain / a puddle. / Careful. Don't step on the sky." Cityscapes and time at the beach, rivers, ponds, boats, and night lights—all are summoned in the poetry spoken by a round-headed, button-eyed little girl. Nakata's (What Kind of Kiss?, 2001, etc.) ink-and-watercolors cheerfully reflect the haiku, with an economy of image and use of negative space. A profusion of flowers, insects, and other small creatures, and a ginger cat soften the friendly landscape further. A nice companion to Matthew Golub's fabulous Cool Melons—Turn to Frogs! (1998). (Poetry. 6-10)Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 2000

Anticipating the visit of a favorite person is half the fun. Planning all the things he likes to do, the narrator of this celebration of childhood, includes telling knock-knock jokes, visiting a construction site, picking up lucky pennies, drinking hot chocolate, cooking, eating and cleaning up together, and just having a good time. What the narrator doesn't like is putting on scratchy dress-up clothes, eating "funny-looking food," or watching movies that are too "kissy." Shields (Martian Rock, 1999, etc.) tells the story from the narrator's point of view and then delivers a punchy surprise ending for this absolutely charming tale of grandfather and grandson. Nakata's gentle watercolors for her first picture-book illustrations are alive with color, movement, and humor. They support and extend the text with funny little bits that provoke a grin and a chuckle. The love this grandfather and grandchild have for each other fills every page. A good read-aloud selection for the younger crowd and a nice addition to grandparents' collections of books to share. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >