The Japanese versions’ bouncy rhythms are lost in translation, and even hopes for the sort of cultural insights that folk...

READ REVIEW

JAPANESE NURSERY RHYMES

CARP STREAMERS, FALLING RAIN AND OTHER TRADITIONAL FAVORITES

Fifteen short, simple songs in Japanese and English seem to be designed more for language practice than actual sharing.

The poems are presented line by line in Japanese characters (three different kinds are used, though only one per poem), a phonetic transcription and a loose but clunky and unrhymed English translation. They include authentically childlike celebrations of rabbits dancing (“Come see, come see the adorable dance / Hoppedy hop, hoppedy hop”), carp streamers “swimming happily in the air” and falling rain (“Picchi picchi chappu chappu / Splish splash, splish splash”). There are also wistful memories of “My Hometown” and a festival song that begins, “Our village guardian god’s generosity / Is what we celebrate on this joyous day / Boom boom, whistle whistle.” On an accompanying CD, tracks identified only by numbers alternate Japanese and English performances of each entry (the former sounding far more natural than the latter), sung in very high voices over solo guitar accompaniments. There is no printed music. Acraman’s art is more toddler-friendly than the lyrics, with plenty of muted but distinct colors and simple, blocky forms.

The Japanese versions’ bouncy rhythms are lost in translation, and even hopes for the sort of cultural insights that folk poetry affords go unfulfilled, since nearly all of the selections are attributed to modern lyricists and composers. (Bilingual nursery songs. 1-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-4-8053-1188-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tuttle

Review Posted Online: Feb. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A fun but inessential novelty, as much toy as book.

YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE

A familiar song repackaged as a board book doubles as a finger puppet.

Many a caregiver has sung this refrain to a newborn or toddler, ignoring the decidedly sad lyrics of the original. Magsamen lays claim and sweetens it up. She uses only the chorus and changes the last line to “I’ll give you lots of hugs… / and kisses every day” instead of the expected “Please don’t take my sunshine away.” Her cheery artwork, reminiscent of applique, recalls the song’s country-music roots and is anything but sad. The pages are decorated with hearts and cuddly-looking caregiver-child animal pairs—foxes, skunks with sunny yellow umbrellas, bunnies, raccoons, and squirrels. The thick, heart-shaped pages include a circular die-cut hole through which readers might poke the smiling felt sun puppet attached to the back cover. A finger inserted from the back makes the sun wiggle and will capture even the youngest baby’s attention. The puppet feature does not obstruct the initial page turns, but when a toddler says, “Do it again” (as they doubtless will), quickly re-positioning the finger puppet is somewhat challenging.

A fun but inessential novelty, as much toy as book. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-30576-0

Page Count: 6

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Overall, a delightful collection—priced so that it’s easy to buy several to give as gifts.

MY WONDERFUL NURSERY RHYME COLLECTION

Looking for an attractive compendium of nursery rhymes, songs, games, and lullabies all in one place? These 192 pages will deliver the goods, and then some.

The one-page introduction emphasizes the importance of nursery rhymes in the lives of young children: they engage the imagination, develop skills, and foster a love of reading and the spoken word. The contents are organized into six categories that bundle together songs, action rhymes, rhymes about animals, games, counting rhymes, and lullabies. The rhymes are set on full pages or double-page spreads and illustrated with an overall retro look in a mix of styles and media that incorporates thumbprints, collage, cut paper, childlike cartoons, dramatic use of display type, and more. “I’m a Little Teapot” features smiling faces on teapot and cup and a palette of pink, red, and teal, while “Old MacDonald” is rendered in a folk-art style that pops with bright yellows, reds, and greens. Instructions for the action rhymes and the games appear in teeny tiny print at the end of each respective chapter. The die-cut board cover is a plus, as it will stand up to repeated readings. Though each rhyme is illustrated differently, unfortunately and strangely, there is no credit or acknowledgement of the artists. While some of the graphic settings are so overdesigned they are difficult to read, there are so many rhymes that it’s easy enough to skip several and still feel sated.

Overall, a delightful collection—priced so that it’s easy to buy several to give as gifts. (Nursery rhymes. 1-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62686-683-6

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more