a tale of two friends, part two (and a recipe)!

#1 in an ongoing series of posts celebrating the alphabet.

Calling all fish lovers!

Whip out your good time goggles and dive straight into this playful book!

Leslie Ann Hayashi and Kathleen Wong Bishop, long time pals from Wahiawa (the unheralded center of the creative universe), really know how to make a splash when it comes to the alphabet.

Did someone just say alphabet? Hold me down, please.

A Fishy Alphabet in Hawai’i (Mutual Publishing, 2007), is my fave Hayashi/Bishop book. Um, maybe I’m just a tad partial to alphabet books. You think? But this one just makes me happy all over. This usually happens when I’m confronted with page after page of vivid, pulsating, color-drenched pictures teeming with life. Thank you, say my eyes. We can’t get enough of those sizzling orange-reds, seaweed hunter greens, and shocking lemon yellows. And dang, did you notice all those fishy facial expressions?


For each letter, a different fish — gliding, wubbling, darting through the slippery pages of this book. Most go by their common names — Pufferfish, Eel, Angelfish, Moorish Idol — but there’s one scientific gilly in the bunch, Xyrichtys Pavo, to keep all the others in line, and of course there are a few rascals who like to show-off their Hawaiian names — ‘Iao, Kikakapu, and the infamous Humuhumunukunukuapua’a. (Say that three times and you get extra chocolate.) Onaga, who likes his Japanese name instead of his Hawaiian (ula ‘ula) or common name (red snapper), is the tastiest one of the bunch.

Little ones will eat up the four-line rhymes capturing the essence of each fish:


Known for its bear,
which tickles its chin,
if you haven’t seen one,
where have you been?

Queen Parrotfish

The Queen Parrotfish,
with her crown of greens and blues,
shimmers in the light,
revealing splendid hues.

Then, they’ll have a ball looking for the fun surprises on each page — objects not usually found in the ocean hanging out on their corresponding alphabet pages simply because they want to: an angel mermaid patting an angelfish, an Easter egg nestled on a rock ledge tempting an eel, a volcano rumbling near a velvetfish, even a lonely zucchini teasing the zebra rockskipper. A list of hidden words at the back of the book is great for building vocabulary and prompting closer observation.


Did I already mention the fishy expressions? Kathy has done a fabulous job of giving these sea creatures personality. Her depictions are fetching, endearing, soothing, winsome.

I highly recommend you grab your net and scoop up this book. You can purchase it through Booklines Hawai’i, or from your favorite online bookseller. It’s definitely the catch of the day!

Look what else I snagged:

A yummy recipe from Leslie herself, who says, “I’m a soccer mom (my younger son plays), and whenever we have potlucks, I bring this dessert. It’s a great hit as I’m usually asked for this recipe!”


6 packages Knox Gelatin
1 cup sugar (I actually use 3/4 cup)
1 box strawberry jello
2 tsp. lemon juice (optional)
12 ounces guava juice concentrate
2 cups cold water
4 cups boiled water

Start with 2 cups of cold water in a large bowl.
Add 2 packages of Knox Gelatin, one at a time, or it will get very lumpy.
Add sugar.
Add Jello.
Add boiled water.
Stir in frozen juice concentrate.
Add lemon juice.
Pour into 9 x 13 x 2 inch pan and refrigerate overnight. The jello can be cut into squares or rectangles and served in separate cupcake paper cups or just served from the pan.

Substitution: If guava juice concentrate is not available, you can substitute frozen orange juice concentrate and 1 box of orange jello instead of strawberry.

*What is great about this recipe is that unlike regular jello, this treat can actually stay out for hours and not lose its shape.

If you missed the other post about Leslie and Kathy’s books, click here.

Be sure to check out their charming website — these ladies make adorable mermaids!

*Interior spreads posted by permission, copyright © 2007 Kathleen Wong Bishop, published by Mutual Publishing. All rights reserved.

  Certified authentic Alphabetica. Handmade just for you with love and tartar sauce.

8 thoughts on “a tale of two friends, part two (and a recipe)!

  1. Kristi’s right. I want to see that water. I want to be IN it.

    Thanks for these features!


  2. I am well-versed in pronouncing humuhumunukunukuapa’a – as many times as you like. 😀

    Hmmm. Might have to consider this book more seriously. My younger daughter LOVES fish (she’s a big Nemo fan). When we were in Hawaii in Nov ’07, she bought a pack of Go Fish cards that use Hawaiian fish instead of numbers or other symbols. There’s no way in heck she can read or pronounce those names, so she just flashes the card and asks, “Do you have this one?” but I have fun reading the Hawaiian names when it’s my turn.


  3. Wow, I’m impressed with your Hawaiian fish pronouncing skills :). I think your daughter would like the interactive aspect of this book — using the vocabulary words at the end to find hidden objects in the pictures. Some are names cleverly disguised in plants, etc. And the pictures are much more colorful than the ones I was able to show here.


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