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Yoshi's Feast (Melanie Kroupa Books) Library Binding – March 1, 2000

5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Fan maker Yoshi loves the delectable smell of the eels broiled by his fishmonger neighbor, Sabu. But he also loves the sound of the coins jingling in his money box, and so he never actually buys the eels, content just to smell them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Struggling to make a living selling his eels, Sabu is furious with Yoshi for his stubbornness, and demands payment for all the eels Yoshi has sniffed. Yoshi retaliates by performing a wild coin-rattling dance in the street: "chin chin jara jara... chin jara jara...." When he finishes, he tells Sabu, "You have charged me for the smell of your eels, and I have paid you with the sound of my money." Is there any hope of reconciliation for these feuding neighbors?

Adapted from the Japanese folktale "Smells and Jingles," this hilarious story shows that in business--and in life--you usually get what you pay for. Compromise often ends up being the most satisfying arrangement all around. Yumi Heo's oil, pencil, and collage illustrations are the real treasure. Readers of all ages will pore over the rich golds, greens, and reds, returning to the story again and again to savor this feast for their eyes. (Ages 4 and older) --Emilie Coulter

From Publishers Weekly

Japanese-American Kajikawa's (Sweet Dreams: How Animals Sleep) desire to learn more about her heritage led her to this humorous folktale, adapted from a collection published more than a century ago. This tale takes a story that may be familiar to readers (the baker who wishes to charge a passerby for the privilege of smelling his baked goods) one step further. Fan maker Yoshi enjoys the aroma of his next-door neighbor Sabu's grilled eels, which make Yoshi's simple meals of rice more appetizing. One day, Sabu demands that Yoshi pay for the eels that he has smelled, so Yoshi repays Sabu in kind: the fan maker shakes his box of coins, and thus offers Sabu the sound of his money. Sabu takes his revenge on his neighbor by cooking smelly fish, prompting Yoshi to make peace--and a friendship springs up between them as they both benefit from the fan maker's plan. Kajikawa's eloquent, economic prose matches the spare compositions of Heo's (Pets!; One Afternoon) pencil and oil collages, incorporating handmade Japanese paper. The energizing palette of mustard, russet and olive with blue accents adds flair to the compositions, which resemble Japanese woodblock prints, and the characters' facial expressions and body language heighten the comical moments. While young readers will be swept up in the neighbors' conflict, they will also witness a fair and resourceful solution to a seeming impasse. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Lexile Measure: 540L (What's this?)
  • Series: Melanie Kroupa Books
  • Library Binding: 32 pages
  • Publisher: DK Publishing; 1st edition (March 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789426072
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789426079
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.5 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #318,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Kimiko's true love of reading and writing began one day at her local library. Kimiko says, "My local librarian asked me if I had ever read Harriet the Spy. She said that it was a great book, and I immediately took it home. I read the entire book that day! I was so disappointed when it ended that I reread it immediately. I had to find a way to keep the spirit of Harriet the Spy alive with me, so I began to keep a journal. And spy on people. I did not follow anyone, but I would try to pick up what people were saying, and I would study their mannerisms. I think Harriet the Spy was the book that got me to write because I really started to look at the world and put down what I saw on paper."

By fifth grade, Kimiko won an essay contest sponsored by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Her essay was about Abraham Lincoln and her victory earned her $3. At that moment, Kimiko concluded that, "Writing was a great way to make a living."

Kimiko won another writing contest when she was twelve, and this time she got to spend a day at the Bucks County Courier Times writing her own column. "I loved it. They took me around and introduced me to all the people that put the newspaper together. I felt like somebody special until they ran my photo in the paper. I was horrified that everyone at school would see it. I looked so nerdy!"

In high school, Kimiko was published in Seventeen Magazine. She was also the assistant editor and columnist for her high school newspaper. "At that point," Kimiko says, "I told my parents that I wanted to become a writer. My parents were unhappy with my decision. They told me that I should become a businesswoman instead."

Kimiko's mom is Japanese and her dad is American. Her parents met after World War II. They didn't even speak the same language when they were married.

Her mom was born in Tokyo in 1929. In an essay that Kimiko wrote when she was in eighth grade, she wrote, "There are no pictures of my mother when she was a child because they were all burned during the war. My mother was eleven years old when World War II started. She sometimes only had toothpaste to eat." During the war, Kimiko's mother lost nine relatives in one day during the bombing of Hiroshima. Soon after the war, Kimiko's grandmother died of cancer. The very next day, her aunt fell from a train and died from head injuries. Kimiko says, "My mom's life is filled with tragic stories that she rarely tells."

"In fact, my family has been the inspiration for most of my books. I credit my son, Chris, for starting my career as an author. When he was little, he fell in love with trains. What Chris wanted most in the world was a book with photographs of steam trains for young children. Fortunately, for me, that book didn't exist. After two years of searching, I decided to write and photograph the book that Chris so desperately wanted to read."

According to Kimiko, "Working on my books has helped me make sense of my life and helped me deal with the pain of growing up Eurasian. There were children in my neighborhood who wouldn't play with me when I was a kid. Some of them threw rocks at me and called me, "slanty eyes." Having grown up wishing I looked like most everyone else, I understand how important it is to give children an awareness and appreciation of our external differences and a realization that, underneath it all, we are very much the same. I feel that through teaching children to respect others we give them something even more important: self-respect."

"For several years, I have truly enjoyed reading old Japanese folklore and adapting those stories for an American audience. This is very therapeutic work for me. When I was little, I would go to sleep and wish that I would wake up looking like all the other kids. Now, I take pride in my heritage. Writing books has helped me grow as a person. It's very empowering. After all these years of feeling oppressed and ashamed of my background, I now feel that I can make a positive difference. "

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Library Binding
My 2 1/2 year old daughter is part Japanese and I love it when I can find a beautifully illustrated book about that country and its customs. This book is funny as well as a feast for the eyes. She really loves the "sounds" that the coins make and the funny folk tale.
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Format: Library Binding
This book is a must buy! Perfect for reading aloud. I can't wait to share this with my second graders next year! I purchased an autographed copy at my local Borders tonite and couldn't wait to get on here and "plug" this picturebook! Reminding me a bit of Demi's picturebooks (ie., The Empty Pot), this book has more! The onomatopoeia throughout the lively text really lends itself to reading aloud! The illustrations work very well with the text! Another Melanie Kroupa masterpiece! (see Steamboat, The Big Cheese)Outstanding literature! Even the author's bio on the dust jacket flap is interesting!
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Format: Library Binding
Yoshi loved broiled eels, but he never wanted to buy from Sabu, who lived next door. Yoshi just enjoyed sniffing delicious smells every meal with his boiled rice. So his money box became heavier and heavier. One day, Sabu demanded that Yoshi must pay for smelling the eels. Then Yoshi danced around, holding his money box. "Chin, chin, jara, jara"...Yoshi said he was paying with the sound of his money. Then, angry Sabu had an idea. He baked the stinky fish, Samma... I couldn't stop laughing this story. Thank you to Kimiko Kajiwara and Yumi Heo for giving me such a good laugh.
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