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.