Books by Keiko Narahashi

MAMA WILL BE HOME SOON by Nancy Minchella
Released: May 1, 2003

Lili's mother is going away on a trip and Lili cannot help but miss her and yearn for her return. Walking Mama to the ferry landing, Lili asks her how she will find her. "You'll see my yellow hat," Mama assures her. Seeing her off, Lili watches as Mama's hat fades into the distance and then she clutches her Grandma's hand for the walk home. Over the next two days, Lili sees Mama's hat nearly everywhere she goes. Unfortunately, when she goes in for a closer view, she finds that the spots of yellow that she thought were her mother's hat are instead a circus balloon, a yellow sundress, a bright beach umbrella, and a sunflower. Despairing that Mama will ever return, Lili walks with her grandmother to meet the ferry. Yellow is everywhere; yellow hats, yellow pants, yellow sunglasses, and even a yellow duck—but no yellow hat. Finally, Lili spots a yellow hat in the crowd disembarking from the ferry and it's Mama. With a gift of a yellow hat for her very own, Mama clasps Lili tight against her, promising that she will always return. Soft washes of watercolors in muted tones set the perfect backdrop for the brightly colored story of the bond between a mother and daughter. A sunny tale. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
A FAWN IN THE GRASS by Joanne Ryder
Released: April 1, 2001

Inspired by a fawn's temporary residence in her yard, Ryder (Each Living Thing, 2000, etc.) offers a child's brief nature walk in simply written verse: "There's a squirrel who clings to the side of a tree. / There's the flash of a jay, / and the buzz of a bee." Narahashi's sensitive, gently brushed watercolors echo this simplicity; together, text and pictures make everything the young observer notices, whether it be as commonplace as wildflowers or ants, or as rare as a half-seen fawn in the grass, seem equally marvelous. Different perspectives help to focus attention and suggest ways of looking at the world, sometimes very closely as "a trail on a leaf" leads to a close-up of "a snail underneath" or from a bird's-eye view "as a hawk circles high." This quiet stroll will leave readers of any age with a deeper appreciation for the natural treasures all around them and add immeasurably to the pleasures of a walk of their own. (Picture book. 4-6)Read full book review >
HERE COMES THE YEAR by Eileen Spinelli
Released: March 1, 2001

"I am . . .," declare the months, as they introduce themselves, starting from the first, January, waking a red-haired child, "easing you out of your cuddle-down sleep" and ending with the last, December, "slowing the evening rush, pulling a blanket over the earth, dusting your dreams . . . hush . . . hush." The blanket, seen on the end papers, is a cozy, tied quilt decorated with pastel seasonal themes, which unfortunately will be partially concealed under library preparation. Double-paged spreads offer space to depict the characteristics of each month with glorious colors that are "dazzling, bold" and descriptive verbs that "glisten," "zing," and "tint," as they create melodious patterns that "tin-tin" tinkle. The rhymes jump, holler, and flow in all the right places, complemented by the watercolor-and-gouache illustrations. Spinelli (Sophie's Masterpiece, 2001, etc.) and Narahashi (A Fawn in the Grass, 2001, etc.) have produced an impressive new calendar that will please both the eye and ear. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1998

Farber's comforting question-and-answer session between a boy and his mother forms the basis for Narahashi's exuberant scenes of sharing. "Spittle bugs blow bubbles, Can I do that?" the boy asks. "With suds and a pipe," his mom replies. Always, he looks to the world around him, wondering how he can emulate the interesting things he sees. Always his mother provides a way: To change color as a chameleon does, she suggests he change his coat; to stay as snug as a caterpillar in its cocoon, she tells him to snuggle up in his sleeping bag. Narahashi's soft watercolor washes make the pictures as compact as the text, while the jacket painting, of the mother's skirt twirling as she spins the child around off his feet, sets the tone and invites readers into the pages. (Picture book. 3-6) Read full book review >
WHAT'S WHAT? by Mary Serfozo
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

A charmingly simple rhyming concept book from the team behind Rain Talk (1990) about opposite qualities that all culminate in one lovable creature. ``Ice cream is cold,'' ``Slippers are warm,'' and ``Shorts are short,'' but ``what's soft and hard and warm and cold and wet and dry and long and short and light and dark all at the same time?'' The answer is a puppy whose nails are hard, ``His nose is wet and cold . . . And he's soft and warm and dry.'' It's a grand surprise, and the illustrations of an affectionate brown- skinned brother and little sister add another dimension of gentleness and comfort. Rhyme, riddle, and art—this is a winner on all counts. (Picture book. 3-6) Read full book review >
IS THAT JOSIE? by Keiko Narahashi
Released: Sept. 1, 1994

A delightful book that uses a form of call-and-response to show real-life situations (``Is that Josie way up high on a swing?'') and the ways that Josie's imagination transforms them (``No, it's an eagle soaring high and swooping low''). Author/illustrator Narahashi (I Have a Friend, 1987) uses simple language to evoke the complicated and beautiful world of a child's imagination. In Josie's mind, nothing is a typical daily activity: Pulling on a green-and-yellow-striped top turns her into a turtle hiding in its shell; thumping down the stairs with her doll makes her a kangaroo with a baby in its pouch. The mixture of real and imagined states show the author's gentle watercolors to great advantage. Josie is depicted in strong tones, with her invented guises done as ethereal washes over her more solid form. A wonderful book for reading aloud and for encouraging children to use their imaginations. (Fiction/Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
THE MAGIC PURSE by Yoshiko Uchida
Released: Sept. 30, 1993

A Japanese folktale about a poor young farmer who promises a mysterious girl that he will deliver a message to her parents in the fearsome Red Swamp, from which no man returns alive. In return, she gives him a small red purse that magically refills itself with gold coins. Lifelong prosperity is the reward for the humble soul's deeds of compassion and bravery, related in a classically simple fairy-tale style and illustrated with lovely, misty watercolors, emphasizing the story's magic and mystery. Narahashi's art, recalling traditional brush painting, is alive with dramatic blacks, soft blues, and glowing sunset colors. (Folklore/Picture book. 6-10) Read full book review >
MY GRANDFATHER'S HAT by Melanie Scheller
Released: March 31, 1992

A favorite hat serves as pivot for revealing episodes, narrated by Jason after Grandpa's death, that portray their special relationship: when Jason jumps on Grandpa's hat by mistake, Mom scolds but Grandpa says, easily, ``leave the boy alone,'' and gives him a wink; the hat tops the snowman they build and is used to carry eggs from the henhouse. And though other longtime belongings are sold after Grandpa's death, Jason is given the hat, with permission to wear it now or wait until he grows into it. Scheller makes a strong debut with her warm, skillfully crafted narrative; Narahashi's glowing impressionistic pastels are an excellent complement, deftly capturing the action and mood. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >