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Yoko Hardcover – January 1, 1900

4.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It is Yoko's first day at school, so of course her mother wants to send her off with healthy comfort food for lunch--a delectable package of homemade sushi. "Have a wonderful day at school, my Little Cherry Blossom," her mother says as Yoko climbs into the bus. And it would have been, had it not been for lunchtime. Timothy brings a peanut butter and honey sandwich. Tulip has Swiss cheese on rye. The Franks brothers have beans and franks. But when Yoko opens her cooler of rice rolls with "the crispiest cucumber, the pinkest shrimp, the greenest seaweed, and the tastiest tuna," one of the Franks brothers announces, "Ick. It's green. It's seaweed." Tulip and Fritz chime in, "Yuck-o-rama."

Rosemary Wells (Voyage to the Bunny Planet), with her expressive, bright-eyed, chubby-cheeked animal kingdom, has once again successfully tapped into the emotional world of children. The embarrassment of bringing an uncool lunch to school! What child hasn't wanted to hide under the cafeteria table when caught with a gooey enchilada or a slice of vegetarian lentil loaf? Fortunately, Yoko's teacher concocts a plan to stop the teasing. Parents who have more ambitious hopes for their children's lunches than Fritos, PB&Js, and Oreos will be relieved to discover that the happy ending does not include Yoko's giving up her comfort meal or, more importantly, her heritage. (Ages 4 and older) --Gail Hudson

From Publishers Weekly

Yoko the kitten has gone off to her school with her willow-covered cooler filled with sushi, looking forward to a good day. But her classmates tease her mercilessly when lunch time rolls around ("Ick!... It's seaweed!"). Even worse, during the class Snack Time Song, the two bulldogs who brought franks and beans for lunch snort, "Red bean ice cream is for weirdos!" A pat ending seems in sight when Yoko's wise teacher plans an International Food Day and requires the students to try everything. But only hungry Timothy (a raccoon) is brave enough to taste Yoko's sushi?and yet this proves to be enough for Yoko. By book's end, Timothy and Yoko are fast friends, planning to open their very own lunch-time restaurant featuring tomato sandwiches and dragon rolls. As usual, Wells demonstrates a remarkable feel for children's small but important difficulties. Like the just-right text, her expressive watercolors, both panels and full-scale, capture a distinctive variety of animal children as well as the nuances in Yoko's expressions. Wells's message is clear without being heavy-handed, making this brightly colored schoolroom charmer a perfect book for those American-melting-pot kindergartners who need to develop a genuine respect for one another's differences. Ages 3-7.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 1 and up
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Lexile Measure: 350L (What's this?)
  • Series: Yoko
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion; 1st edition (November 13, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786803959
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786803958
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.5 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #209,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Somewhere three quarters of the way into this book, something happens. The book breaks away from the ending that my wife and I expected. Ms. Wells steers clear of the facile 'happy ending' and re-routes the book to new and different territory. In the hands of a lesser author we would have the entire class doing cartwheels for Yoko's sushi. Sorry, that doesn't happen. Instead we get a much different ending. Somehow that makes the book more tender. More realistic. Kudos to the author for the ability to make this true to the meaning of being a kid.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a wonderful addition to the Rosemary Wells collection. What child hasn't felt different or excluded like Yoko is? Most of us can relate to bringing the wrong lunch to school and paying the social consequences. Yoko's teacher comes up with an inventive way to try to integrate Yoko's sushi into an international food day, but it fails. However, a curious friend tries Yoko's sushi and likes it, proving that just one friend can make all the difference. This book is a great stepping stone to talk to kids about respecting each other's cultural differences. And who can resist Wells's sweet illustrations? Look for old favorite friends Benjamin and Tulip!!!
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Format: Hardcover
You know how literary snobs can debate for hours whether such-n-such an author's work was better early in their career or late? Okay, that's what I do, only I do it with children's authors. Which, when you think about it, doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I mean, what's the point in comparing early Maurice Sendak to his later stuff? What are you really going to determine if you hold up William Steig's cohesive early picture books to his later messiness? But that's just what I do. It's what I like to do. And I have been doing it to Rosemary Wells for years. Ms. Wells was the picture book author I really and truly grew up with. I like to claim loftily that Tasha Tudor was my earliest childhood influence, but I'm just saying that to impress my fellow kiddie lit snobs. If I'm going to be honest, I grew up on Max and Ruby. Books like, "Max's Breakfast". When I became a children's librarian I finally saw Wells' later work and I was, frankly, shocked. To me, it seemed as if Wells had become sloppy in her later years. Max and Ruby books keep getting cranked out, but their plots have become gooey and the illustrations messy. So I grumbled to myself and refused to seriously consider reading and reviewing a single Rosemary Wells picture book ever again. Then, in the process of reading the New York Public Library's, "100 Picture Books Everyone Should Know" I realized that I'd have to read "Yoko". I didn't want to, but admittedly it looked appealing. Reluctantly, I checked it out of my library branch. Tentatively I opened it up and read it through. And just like that my late-Rosemary-Wells prejudice dropped like scales from my eyes. I still think that later Max and Ruby books haven't half the heart of their earlier predecessors.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My daughter just started Kindergarten and was being picked on because of bringing her lunch in from home in a bento box. I searched the web for a book that addressed this and came across Yoko. It's an adorable book, easy to read and easy for my daughter to understand. She immediately identified with the main character. I liked how the story didn't force all the characters to suddenly change and like her food, but that the main character made a good friend through the experience. We don't pack sushi for her lunch, but this story is great for any child who is being singled out for bringing in a lunch that other children say is "yucky" or "weird". The book helped me have a conversation not only about being bullied at school over lunch, but also about how new foods need to be tasted before you think they don't taste good.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got this as a baby shower gift for a friend of mine. We both met in Japan so I wanted to get a Japanese themed children's story. Perfect for what I needed and the story has a good lessen to be learned.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We love this book and give it as a gift to friends with new babies. It's a story about acceptance and encouraging friends to try new things - in this case through food. Kids find this book funny and adults will enjoy it too.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Another wonderful "Yoko" book! The illustrations are beautiful. The story line always has a special meaning and ends well. A great book to read to a child and you will find you love it, too.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful story that celebrates the diversity of our nation, and shows that these differences are cause for celebration not ridicule. My daughter enjoyed this book, and followed the childrens feelings of the unusual lunch dish. When she said "ick!" and slowly began to wonder what sushi actually tastes like, it made me smile. She learned the first lesson of the differences in everyone. Rosemary Wells provided the stepping stone for understanding and tolerance.
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