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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, April 13, 2002

Japanese kitten a spirited heroine

By Jolie Jean Cotton

"YOKO'S PAPER CRANES" by Rosemary Wells, Hyperion, $15.99, ages 3-7
Acclaimed children's book author/illustrator Rosemary Wells first introduced Yoko the Japanese kitten two years ago. This second picture book featuring the spirited heroine focuses on Yoko's relationship with her grandparents in Japan.

The story opens with Yoko feeding cranes in the pond with Obaasan, her grandmother. Yoko is sad when the cranes fly away. Then Ojiisan, Yoko's grandfather, teaches her to fold paper into cranes and other animals. When Yoko grows up and moves to California she sends cranes back across the ocean to her grandparents.

The artwork was created using origami and washi papers, gold leaf, rubber stamps and paint.

As usual, Wells has crafted a satisfying, multilayered story. Here, she introduces the art of origami, offers an immigration tale and captures the closeness of family, no matter how far away. This book is a treasure.

"PONOPONO: A HAWAIIAN VERSION OF AN AGE-OLD TALE" by Carolyn Han, Carole Hinds McCarty illustrator Island Heritage, ages 3-7, $8.99

Poor Ponopono can't get anything right. First, the young boy loses a handful of manini. Then pigs eat the poi that leaks from his basket. Ponopono's mother is always encouraging with helpful advice. But at every turn, Ponopono makes mistakes. Fortunately, Ponopono's bad luck eventually makes for a pleasantly surprising ending. Well written and beautifully illustrated.

Children's book news: The 11th Biennial Conference on Literature and Hawai'i's Children June 13-15 at the University of Hawai'i will feature picture-book author/illustrator William Joyce ("Rolie Polie Olie," "Dinosaur Bob") and 2001 Newbery Award winner Christopher Paul Curtis ("Bud, Not Buddy," "The Watsons Go To Birmingham") as well as Marion Coste, Elaine Masters, author/illustrator James Rumford and illustrators Scott Goto and Christine Joy Pratt. Information: CLH@hawaii.edu.