Monday, 14 November 2011

Aoki


Aoki by Annelore Parot (Hardie Grant Egmont)
Padded HB RRP $24.95
ISBN 978-174297003-5
Reviewed by Lillian Rodrigues-Pang

Aoki is a visual and textual delight. It is a padded hardback with the image of Aoki stitched onto the cover. I have enjoyed just having my hands on this book it has such a unique and enticing design.

Aoki is a Japanese Kokeshi doll. Kokeshi dolls were traditionally made from left over wood with sculpted hair and little rounded bodies. Now they are coloured. This book centers on Aoki who is one of a family of dolls. They are a cute set of dolls, with attention to the little details such as rosy cheeks, cherry hair bands and matching lunch cloth bags and dresses.

In this story Aoki is off to visit her friend Yoko who lives in Tokyo and “is one of the most kawaii (cute) of kokeshis!” The story is sweet and the images are typically Japanese – attractive, high use of colours and patterns and very cute. The book incorporates Japanese language throughout and various culturally significant concepts such as the search for beauty, cherry blossoms, the high speed train, bento lunch box and relaxing in Zen gardens.

The internal pages incorporate a wide range of visual discovery and presentation, from peep windows, to lift flaps of all shapes and orientations and raised graphics on the final spread. All of my children (and I) enjoy holding the book and moving through each double page spread. Even the youngest child (3 years) could enjoy this story and the overall book without my supervision. It is a delightful, positive and satisfying story of discovery and adventure. I recommend this absolute delight of a book.

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