From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2 Wells's adorable Japanese-American kitten introduced in Yoko
(1998) and Yoko Writes Her Name
(2008, both Hyperion) continues to share her Japanese heritage with her classmates in this culturally realistic and touching picture book. Yoko receives an antique doll dressed in a kimono from her Japanese grandparents with instructions to care for it until Girl's Day, a holiday that celebrates dolls and daughters. In her eagerness to share this special holiday with her classmates, Yoko, against her mother's explicit instructions, takes the doll to school for show-and-tell where it gets tossed back and forth in a game of keep-away on the bus. Yoko is heartsick over its destruction and realizes that she was wrong to take it to school. Her mother's calm reassurance that she loves Yoko even though she made a mistake is a heartwarming message. Wells's charming cut-paper collage illustrations are full of Asian decorations and patterns, including a Shoji screen, low tables, and beautiful kimonos. The Japanese terms for grandmother and grandfather are deftly introduced into the simple, conversational text. Children will identify with Yoko's excitement and heartbreak over having something special ruined. Kristine M. Casper, Huntington Public Library, NY
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Yoko may be a Japanese kitty, but once again she is Everychild in a story that will remind readers of their own impulses and emotions. In anticipation of her grandparents' visit, Yoko receives an antique doll named Miki. Girls' Day, complete with a doll festival, is a Japanese holiday, and Yoko thinks she should bring Miki to Show-and-Tell to help explain it. Her mother says no “in her Big No voice.” Kids will anticipate the rest: Yoko takes Miki to school anyway, and the doll is tossed around until she breaks. In a heartrending scene, Yoko must confess to her mother. Then it's on to the doll hospital, where Miki is fixed so well, even Grandmother can't tell the difference. The thoughtful depictions are simply rendered but pack a wallop: the horror and helplessness on Yoko's face as Miki is thrown about, the relief that an impulsive act hasn't led to permanent damage. Relatable story, endearing characters, and oh, those kimonos! Preschool-Grade 1. --Ilene Cooper