Here’s a charming way to introduce little ones to a bit of Japanese culture. Annelore Parot has created a series of interactive books featuring kokeshi, the traditional wooden folk art dolls that originated in the Tohoku region of Northern Japan.
In Kimonos (Chronicle Books, 2011), we meet seven adorable kokeshi. Each invites us to join her in an everyday activity involving clothing. Ayuka wants us to pick out friends who aren’t wearing school uniforms, we go shopping with Kimiyo to select kimonos and accessories (sashes, fans, bows), and Sen’Jo shows off lots of fun hairstyles. When we are asked to help Yumi find her lost ladybugs, we pop into several different apartments, and eventually get to meet her extended family by identifying the colors and patterns of their clothes.
Young doll lovers will have lots of fun lifting flaps, peeking through die-cuts, opening spectacular gatefold spreads, and studying all the prints, patterns, and colors of the kokeshi costumes. The variety of settings (school, shop, apartment, bath) will stimulate imaginative play, and there are so many objects to identify and count. Japanese words and their kanji are incorporated in some of the illustrations (days of the week, clothing accessories, hairstyle inspirations).
Kimonos is perfect for the Hello Kitty set, who’ll no doubt love this bright, happy world of family, friends, home, school and wonderful clothes. They’ll surely clamor for more; not to worry — there are two other books in the Kokeshi series, Yumi and Aoki, with another coming out in August: Kokeshi Style: Design Your Own Kokeshi Fashions (Chronicle, 2012). There’s also Kokeshi stationery, journals and notecards.
Check out the publisher’s trailer:
KOKESHI: KIMONOS by Annelore Parot
published in the U.S. by Chronicle Books (2011)
first published by Éditions Milan in France (2009)
Interactive Picture Book for all ages, 32 pp.
Padded Hardcover with fabric and embossed front cover
♥ Visit the Kokeshi website where you can learn more about the characters and available products, and download an activity kit.
♥ Annelore Parot is a French illustrator and designer. Click here to visit her official website.
Kokeshi = Little wooden dolls from Japan
Kawaii = Super cute
Kawaii + Kokeshi = Super cute little dolls in a big, bright world!
**Spreads from Kimonos posted by permission, copyright © 2011 Annelore Parot, published by Chronicle Books. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.