Written by Rosemary Wells
Illustrated by Rosemary Wells
The most enchanting and beautifully illustrated of Well's "Yoko" books, this tells the story of how Yoko came to America from her home in Japan, and how she kept in touch with her grandparents in Japan, writing letters, cards and thank you notes all year long. When it was winter time in Japan, Yoko decided to send her grandmother a present of some paper cranes, to remind Obasan about the birds they had seen together in the Spring. She folds the origami paper just as her grandfather had shown her and send the package to her delighted grandparents. The story is sweet, but the illustrations are fabulous -- some of the best artwork Wells has ever done. Wells incorporates Asian motifs into the graphics, and frames each panel with beautifully patterned paper... The first edition also had a bright gold gilt running through the pictures -- there's still a metallic sheen on later editions, although not quite as vivid as the first version... All in all, a wonderfully classy book: a real favorite.
You Can Do It, Sam
Written by Amy Hest
Illustrated by Anita Jeram
Sam Bear and his mother have a big, secret project: to wake up at dawn on a snowy morning and bake cakes for everyone in the neighborhood, then leave them on their doorsteps before anybody wakes up. This becomes a story about independence and confidence building when Mom tells Sam to run up the sidewalks by himself and drop the bundles off... Mom gets extra cool points for driving a beat up old GM-style 1940s pickup truck... And, once again, there appears to be no dad to be seen... So more power to Mama Bear! This is cute, and though it's not my favorite in the series, it's still definitely recommended.
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