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Yoko
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About the Author

Rosemary Wells is the award-winning author of numerous books for children, including Carry Me!; My Kindergarten; the New York Times best-selling Emily's First 100 Days of School; the critically acclaimed Wingwalker, illustrated by Brian Selznick; Yoko's Paper Cranes; Yoko Writes Her Name; Yoko's Show and Tell; and the beloved McDuff series, illustrated by Susan Jeffers

Reviews

PreS-Gr 2-Yoko, a gray kitten, is crushed when her classmates (including Fritz, Tulip, and Hazel from previous titles by Wells) mock her favorite sushi lunch. Her plight, however, is noticed by her teacher. Under the guise of International Food Day, the resourceful Mrs. Jenkins encourages the insensitive students to bring in a dish from a foreign country and "Everyone must try a bite of everything." Yoko is further humiliated when her sushi remains untouched. However, Timothy's appetite leads him to the sushi cooler where he discovers crab cones. The next day, he and Yoko share dragon rolls and tomato sandwiches. A class song for every activity, the group dynamics, even the students' clothing and their sandwich fixings perfectly capture the grade school experience. The watercolor-and-ink illustrations vary from full page to postage stamp size and enhance the pacing of the brief text and the realistically contemporary dialogue. Every child's need for peer acceptance and dread of being "different" are addressed in an affirming and believable manner. The sushi endpapers and Yoko's beguiling smile on the title page introduce this newest heroine, and the eclectic but satisfying menu at the conclusion of the tale speaks volumes about open-mindedness. Just as Yoko's mother carefully crafted the delectable sushi, Wells, too, has tucked a real treasure in this tasty morsel of a tale.-Carol Ann Wilson, Westfield Memorial Library, NJ

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. (Nov.)

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