welcome to annelore parot’s world of kokeshi!

Konnichiwa! Hello!

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!

Sayonara! Goodbye!



**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.

15 thoughts on “welcome to annelore parot’s world of kokeshi!

  1. *falls over*
    I think I am having cute overload.

    I don’t know what it is – the big heads? The wee pink cheeks? The fact that I really still love paper dolls, and with all of the hats and kimonos and fab activities, these are even more fun than Western ones?



    1. *picks T. up*

      Squee! Didn’t know you were a paper dolls lover — me too! I love the variety of hairstyles, accessories and patterns in this book. Great details to pore over.


  2. Cute is right! I’ve never seen the appeal of Hello Kitty (wrong age), but these dolls I adore! Big heads, far-apart eyes, no mouths, a little reminiscent of Eloise Wilkin’s art.


    1. I’ve never been drawn to Hello Kitty either, but like these kokeshi dolls. I’m curious to see the other books in the series.


    1. I didn’t know you collected kokeshi! Sounds like you need to see the entire series :). Kawaii! There’s one named Michiko in the Kimonos book.


  3. These are wonderful. I’m so impressed that these cute things can have such varied expressions without mouths. I think I’ll put it on my list for the ‘then’ 4 year olds birthday. She will love it. I loved paper dolls too, but was often cutting their hair, or making little hats, or skirts, for the dolls. I would not accept what was given. Fun to play with, easy to carry on a trip. Thanks Jama!


    1. Yay, another paper dolls lover — you sound far more creative and inventive with them than I was. My favorite paper dolls was the Lennon Sisters set. Hope you get a Kokeshi book for your granddaughter so the two of you can enjoy it together :).


  4. This is the first I’ve heard of kokeshi, and I am in love. Kokeshi Style looks particularly fun. I’m going to have to buy it for one of my friends’ girls so that she and I can play with it together.


    1. The style book that’s coming out soon does look like fun. Good idea to buy it for someone else so you can also play with it :).


  5. These would make an outstanding iPad app / interactive game…move over Webkinz and Moshi Monsters!


  6. This book looks sooo sooo cute. Reminded me of the paper doll cut-outs I used to have when I was a child, only this is worlds better! I wonder if we have this here.


    1. sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooocuteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee


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