Wells’ winsome kitten experiences a milestone sure to bring smiles to the faces of teachers and librarians everywhere.
Learning to read is a momentous development in a child’s life, but it can be difficult to depict in an interesting way. Luckily, previous familiarity with Yoko’s can-do spirit should ensure that readers will be rooting for this clever kitten. Like her classmates, Yoko yearns to see her name on the “book tree” at school. She gets credit for the three stories that she and her mother share at home but despairs of adding any more. Her mother only reads Japanese, and, oddly, they own just the three books. A trip to the library solves at least one of these problems, and Yoko’s determination carries her along as she sounds out words and uses pictures to predict plot. Cross-cultural details add interest: sushi for dinner, cozy on-the-floor seating at the tea table and the fact that books in Japanese read back to front. The final picture shows Yoko beginning to teach her mother the English alphabet. As always, Wells’ illustrations enchant. Oil pastels and collage showcase rich colors and beautiful designs, evocative of traditional origami papers, while emotions shine through the characters’ expressive eyes and energetic body language.
A perky paean to the joys of literacy, with a bit of library love thrown in for good measure. (Picture book. 4-7)