By Annelore Parot
Chronicle Children’s, $17.99, 32 pages

On the surface Kokeshi Kimono Book is a simple book about several young Japanese school girls, each posing a different question for the reader about their clothes, home, or family that the reader can easily answer if they are very observant of the illustrations. But there are many layers to each page offering information, challenges, and fun through hidden pictures, flaps, and cutouts. On each page readers can also find information about Japanese words and customs subtly hidden in the background.

“Hello! I’m Michiko. Look at my kimono very carefully.”

Kokeshi Kimono Book manages to be both simple and detailed, sparse and beautiful, educational and fun. As well as being a fun activity book, Kokeshi Kimono Book is an ideal introduction to the Japanese culture for young girls. While showing how different Japanese culture is, it also gives glimpses of how similar Japanese girls are to girls around the world with their drawings, families, and school days. Although it is a picture book for pre and early readers, the beauty of Annalore Parot’s illustrations will gain it the appreciation of readers of all ages.

Jodi M. Webb