Currently viewing the category: "Seattle Library Books"

ばけばけ町のべろろんまつり
Spooky Town’s Slurpy Festival
作/絵:たごもりのりこ(Tagomori Noriko)
Level 2 絵本, 32 pages, 350 words (est.) ★★★★★
Hardcover

If I was in charge of buying books for a high school or college extensive reading library, I’d get this one and the other two in the series, because everyone would be fighting over the chance to read them! For one thing, the wacky setting is much more fun than stories about happy bears baking cake, and for another thing, it really feels like something you’d never read in English. The human boy Ken and his tiger friend Torako get dressed up in yukata for the Slurpy Festival, a summer Japanese festival held in Spooky Town, a village of monsters and ghosts. There they meet a Jizō statue, Anguri Jizō, who leaves his shrine to join them in playing games, eating enchanted food and dancing. I won’t lie, the illustrations in this book would have terrified me when I was a kid, what with the three-eyed bunny and bakebakeyaki (like takoyaki, but with, shall we say, a side effect) but I think that’s precisely what older readers would enjoy! Its very weirdness helps make it feel less childish and more exotic. I would like to find more books like this one that are distinctively Japanese; it really helps you feel like you’re discovering something through your language studies that’s hidden from all those poor suckers that just speak English.

Difficulty
It’s a level 2 book with no kanji and spaces between words, and there are many pictures that help the reader understand what’s going on, but it’s a little more difficult than most level 2 books at this level because of the playful, conversational language. For example, in the sample text, there are words like いろんな(いろいろな)and でてる(でている)that might be difficult for a student who isn’t used to casual speech. It’s also filled with onomatopoeias; I would have had a better time on my first readthrough if I had known that べろろん meant something like “slurp” and あんぐり meant a gaping or wide open mouth, and more perceptive readers than me might be able to get this sort of thing from the pictures and context. So this book might be good for someone who has been reading long enough to be able to skip over unknown things and still enjoy the text.

Reading Tutor rates it as “normal,” mostly because of the non-standard, conversational language and onomatopoeias. It has no kanji.

Sample text (two pages of text)
「わあっ! いろんな おみせがでてるぞ」
あんぐりじぞうも ついてきちゃった!
「いちねんぶん あそばなくっちゃ、ぺろり!」
まずは ひとまわり。
「ねぇねぇ、しっぽつりだって」
「やってみる?」
だれが じょうずに つれるかなぁ?

How to get it
To get it from Kinokuniya at the time I write this, you would have to special order it for ¥1,300 (about $16 at the time of this writing) plus tax and shipping. (However, another one of the books is in store, if you don’t want to deal with special ordering.) It’s on Amazon too, for ¥1,365, or less if used; as always, don’t forget the high cost of shipping if you’re outside Japan. It’s also on YesAsia for $23.99. You can also look it up on WorldCat to see if it’s at a nearby library. (I got it from the Seattle library.)

Don’t forget to check out the other books in the series, “Moving to Spooky Town” and “The Spooky Town Burglar.”

 

This is an incomplete list of all the Level 6 books available from the Seattle Public Library; it’ll be updated as I keep reading them.

From Extensive Reading in Japanese, the definition of a Level 6 book:

Level 6: Easy unabridged books for adolescent native readers from twelve to fifteen years old. These books still include furigana; and there are few pictures. The content is more complex. Some specialized vocabulary items appear.

I’ve added Amazon links for the benefit of having title images and just in case anyone wants to subsidize my reading, but if you’re interested in ordering any of these, I’d also recommend you look them up on Kinokuniya’s website and compare shipping costs. Also, all title translations are my own unless otherwise indicated, names are family name first, then given name, and 作 and 絵 mean “author” and “illustrator,” respectively.

Placeholder post.

 

This is an incomplete list of all the Level 5 books available from the Tacoma Public Library; it’ll be updated as I keep reading them.

From Extensive Reading in Japanese, the definition of a Level 5 book:

Level 5: Beginning at this level, material is quantitatively and qualitatively different from the lower levels. Level 5 books usually have more than 100 pages and fewer illustrations. Some kanji have furigana, but not all of them. Stories are fully developed and more detailed. Japanese native readers would be ten to thirteen years old.

I’ve added Amazon links for the benefit of having title images and just in case anyone wants to subsidize my reading, but if you’re interested in ordering any of these, I’d also recommend you look them up on Kinokuniya’s website and compare shipping costs. Also, all title translations are my own unless otherwise indicated, names are family name first, then given name, and 作 and 絵 mean “author” and “illustrator,” respectively.

歩いて行こう
Let’s Go Walking!
作:北 ふうこ(きた ふうこ, Kita Fūko)
絵:岡本 美子(おかもと よしこ, Okamoto Yoshiko)
Level 5 本, 83 pages, 5,600 words (est.)

Takeshi’s family moves to the country to be closer to his grandpa and for the benefit of his asthmatic sister Akane; it’s nothing like their old home and it’s hard to get used to, but the more time he spends there, walking with his sister and grandpa and learning about things like what color cucumber flowers are and how to make bamboo dragonflies, the more he comes to like the country life. I just love these books that are essentially a peek inside a family’s day-to-day life, even if there’s not much plot in the way I’m used to thinking about it.

鈴とリンのひみつレシピ!
Suzu and Rin’s Secret Recipe!
作:堀 直子(ほり なおこ, Hori Naoko)
絵:木村 いこ(きむら いこ, Kimura Iko)
Level 5 本, 140 pages, 6,100 words (est.)
Suzu’s dad is so busy with his new restaurant that he has to live there, and Suzu learns that she likes to cook for her mom and two sisters as well as her beloved dog, Rin. Her friend suggests that she enter a cooking contest, and Suzu can’t help but think it would be an opportunity to prove the power of rice to a critic who recently panned her dad’s restaurant for featuring it…

 

This is an incomplete list of all the Level 4 books available from the Seattle Public Library; it’ll be updated as I keep reading them.

From Extensive Reading in Japanese, the definition of a Level 4 book:

Level 4: Full texts with kanji and kana. Most kanji have furigana. The content is much richer and the length of a story could go over several volumes, but ample pictures help the readers. Most film comics are at this level. Japanese native readers would be eight to twelve years old.

I’ve added Amazon links for the benefit of having title images and just in case anyone wants to subsidize my reading, but if you’re interested in ordering any of these, I’d also recommend you look them up on Kinokuniya’s website and compare shipping costs. Also, all title translations are my own unless otherwise indicated, names are family name first, then given name, and 作 and 絵 mean “author” and “illustrator,” respectively.

雪の森のリサベット
Lisabet and the Snowy Woods
作:アストリッド・リンドグレーン(Astrid Lindgren)
絵:イロン・ヴィークランド(Ilon Wikland)
Level 4 本, 56 pages, 2,100 words (est.)

Astrid Lindgren also wrote the Pippi Longstocking series which I loved as a kid, so I snapped it up. Lisabet and Alva, her family’s maid, go to buy Christmas presents, and while Lisabet is waiting outside for Alva to buy her present, she gets the idea to ride on the back of a passing sleigh from a boy she knows. But the sleigh goes much further than she expected it would… It’s not nearly as lighthearted as the Pippi Longstocking books, but it’s lyrical and heartwarming. Incidentally, the original title is “Titta, Madicken, det snöar” (translated by one blogger as “Look, Madicken, it’s snowing!”); Madicken is Lisabet’s older sister, and although it’s not as if she has no role in the story, Lisabet’s adventure is the most compelling part, so I rather prefer the Japanese title (for once).

グッバイ!グランパ
Goodbye, Grandpa!
作:服部 千春(はっとり ちはる, Hattori Chiharu)
絵:鈴木 修一(すずき しゅういち, Suzuki Shūichi)
Level 4 本, 79 pages, 5,000 words (est.)

One night Sayaka’s grandfather, who passed away long before she was born, starts appearing in her bedridden grandmother’s room, and for some reason, she’s the only one who can see him. Worse still, he insists on following her around… This was one of the more complicated books I’ve read since I started this project, and I loved it, I read it in a night. Apparently it won a contest for children’s science fiction books, as well. By the way, this book marked something of a personal triumph for me: it’s the first time one character has used a word, another character has asked for a definition and I didn’t need to have it explained too. (The word in question was ハイカラ.)

保健室のクッキー
Cookie, the Nurse’s Office Dog
作:上条 さなえ(かみじょう さなえ, Kamijō Sanae)
絵:相澤 るつ子(あいざわ るつこ, Aizawa Rutsuko)
Level 4 本, 96 pages, 4,500 words (est.)

When Cookie, a Chihuahua who lives at an animal hospital, bites two people to try to avoid having his ears cleaned and his nails trimmed, his name is mud — and the only reasonable thing to do is to send him to work at a school nurse’s office and hope he changes his wicked ways. I’m a little baffled by the logic there, but it all works out, and it’s a really fun little book. Second one I’ve read that was narrated by a dog — I could probably start a collection. By the way, I didn’t know that the device I only know as the “Cone of Shame” is called an Elizabethan collar in English as well, so I cracked up when I figured out what エリザベスカラー referred to.

わんわん探偵団
The Doggie Detective Agency
作:杉山 亮 (すぎやま あきら) 
絵:廣川 沙映子(ひらかわ さえこ)
Level 4 本, 142 pages, 4,000 words (est.)

I was totally charmed by this book, and since it’s part of a larger series I might give it its own write-up at some point. It’s about a dog trainer named Spitz (that is, スピッツ; his t-shirt says “Spit’s Dog Training” but I choose to view it as an error, because he’s never gonna get the girl with a name like Spit), his next-door neighbor Miss Hanae, and all the dogs he takes care of; together, they fight crime! There’s three separate short stories, with a bit of information about various dog breeds at the end of each one.

ティアラちゃんのアン・ドゥ・トロワ 3
Tiara’s un, deux, trois (3)
作:しめの ゆき(Shimeno Yuki)
絵:小野 恵理(おの えり, Ono Eri)
Level 4 本, 71 pages, 3,000 words (est.)

Tiara is a bunny taking ballet classes; this is a slow-paced book about her interactions with her classmates and their struggles with ballet and friendship. This is the third book in the series, and although the previous books were summarized, it did make the book feel less compelling; if you happen to like ballet and/or cute animals, though, it might be a good one to order and start from the beginning. I’ve got to say, the dancing animal I most wanted to read about was the alligator Simone, who had no speaking lines but appears in some of the illustrations. There’s all these lithe, adorable gazelles, bunnies, lambs and so on, and then you have a grim-looking alligator with little stubby arms and a tutu. I’d read it, wouldn’t you?

森からのてがみ 2
Messages from the Forest #2 (official title)
文:ニコライ・スラトコフ(Nikolai Sladkov)
訳:松谷 さやか(まつや さやか, Matsuya Sayaka)
絵:あべ 弘士(あべ ひろし, Abe Hiroshi)
Level 4 本, 56 pages, 1,800 words (est.)

Nikolai Sladkov was a naturalist writer, so these little stories about animals are a cut above all of the other animal books I’ve been reading: they feel slightly like fables, and there’s none of this “oh, how nice, Usako-chan and Kuma-kun are playing together” business. I class it as a Level 4 book because it uses more kanji, a smaller font and has no spaces between words, but it’s fairly short and split into three stories, and I think it and the other two books in the series would be a good choice for my fantasy extensive reading library that, as of yet, I only carry around in my head.

This is an incomplete list of all the Level 3 books available from the Seattle Public Library; it’ll be updated as I keep reading them.

From Extensive Reading in Japanese, the definition of a Level 3 book:

Level 3: Kana and kanji are mixed, but the book is mainly written in hiragana. Furigana is provided for any kanji in the text. The content is not only fiction, but may also contain facts or accounts of some natural phenomena. Pictures are the main feature of the book. Japanese native readers would be six to ten years old.

I’ve added Amazon links for the benefit of having title images and just in case anyone wants to subsidize my reading, but if you’re interested in ordering any of these, I’d also recommend you look them up on Kinokuniya’s website and compare shipping costs. Also, all title translations are my own unless otherwise indicated, names are family name first, then given name, and 作 and 絵 mean “author” and “illustrator,” respectively.

チクチクのおばけりょこう
Chikuchiku’s Ghost Safari
作/絵:舟崎 克彦(ふなざき よしひこ, Funazaki Yoshihiko)
Level 3 本, 77 pages, 850 words (est.)

The hedgehog Chikuchiku, back from exploring, tells all his animal friends about the places he found… and the ghosts inhabiting them. Or at least, that’s what he thought they were, but some of his friends are a little skeptical. This one had a surprising amount of words I didn’t know for a shortish level 3 book – lots of exploring-related verbs, perhaps.

光のゲンちゃん
Lil’ Genji
作:花散里(はなちるさと, Hanachirusato)
絵:西村 緋禄司(にしむら ひろし, Nishimura Hiroshi)
Level 3 絵本, 47 pages, 1,100 words (est.)

The young Hikaru Genji wishes to see if people are still talking about him in a thousand years, so he takes a time-traveling oxcart to present-day Kyoto, where he dances for the crowds, transforms a girl in jeans into a Heian-era princess and turns into a phoenix. (A 鳳凰, technically.) Yeah, seriously. I never thought my interest in The Tale of Genji would lead me here. There’s a song that goes with it, too. (The sheet music is in the back of the book.)

ちいさいドットちゃん
Little Dot
作/絵:堀川 波(ほりかわ なみ, Horikawa Nami)
Level 3 本, 63 pages, 1,000 words (est.)

Little Dot’s birthday is tomorrow! Until then, she spends time with her mom and dad doing chores, then visits her friend Sara and her twin brothers. When she gets bigger, she’s going to do all sorts of wonderful things like drive a car and drink coffee with her dad. I guess this is sort of like a … slice of life book? It’s really charming.

チョコレートのまち
Chocolate City
作/絵:深見 春夫(ふかみ はるお, Fukami Haruo)
Level 3 本, 63 pages, 850 words (est.)

Since the residents of Chocolate City are all made of chocolate, all it takes is a little heat from the hairdryer at the beauty parlor and they can remake their heads into any shape they want. Most people choose to be beautiful or handsome, but some are a little more creative: a carpenter makes his head into a house, a musician makes hers into a violin and among children there’s a fad for animal heads. But some shapes come with unintended side effects…

1ねん1くみ1ばんくいしんぼう
The Biggest Glutton In My First Grade Class
作:後藤 竜二(ごとう りゅうじ, Gotō Ryūji)
絵:長谷川 知子(はせがわ ともこ, Hasegawa Tomoko)
Level 3本, 71 pages, 1,900 words (est.)

That would be Kurosawa-kun, who begs to be put in charge of overseeing the school lunch for his class. At least, you’d think it would be, given that he’s prone to saying things like “I live for curry rice” — but maybe the title really belongs to someone else, someone no one would suspect? Apparently there’s a whole series of these books, too. I really liked the peek into the first-grade classroom, and the way the teacher interacted with the students.

くやしっぽ
Kuya the Tail
作:丸井 裕子(まるい ひろこ, Marui Hiroko)
絵:長 新太(ちょう しんた, Chō Shinta)
Level 3 本, 77 pages, 1,400 words (est.)

A tanuki’s tail is fed up with being attached to such a boring tanuki, who never does anything except go fishing and bites it whenever it complains. But it makes its escape when its owner accidentally shuts the door on it, then it recruits a wolf’s tail so they can live the unattached tail dream lifestyle together. But can the tails of two such different animals get along? しっぽ (shippo) is “tail,” and I wonder if くやしっぽ (kuyashippo) is a pun of some sort — I’ll ask one of my friends and report back.

おにいちゃん
Big Brother
作:後藤 竜二(ごとう りゅうじ, Gotō Ryūji)
絵:小泉 るみ子(こいずみ るみこ, Koizumi Rumiko)
Level 3 本, 63 pages, 550 words (est.)

Kōsuke’s little sister never calls him “big brother,” just always by his name, and then she goes and gets him in trouble with their mom. So what’s a guy to do but run away from his home? Luckily he’s got a special hideout all prepared… This same author also wrote 1ねん1くみ1ばんくいしんぼう, but this one is much shorter and simpler.

おにのめん(落語絵本)
The Demon Mask (Rakugo Picture Book)
作/絵:川端 誠(かわばた まこと, Kawabata Makoto)
Level 3絵本, 24 pages, 700 words (est.)

Books with a lot of dialect are just the worst for someone like me. I go from thinking I’m getting to some level of competency to feeling happy to have figured out that おかん means “Mom.” But if you do like dialect, there’s a whole series of these rakugo picture books, and the illustrations are awfully cute. In this one, a girl working as an apprentice at a big store has a mask that looks just like her mother back home, but someone switches it out with a demon mask as a prank.

うたのすきなかえるくん
The Frog Who Loved To Sing
作/絵:加古 里子(かこ さとし, Kako Satoshi)
Level 3 本, 71 pages, 1,700 words (est.)

Kaeru-kun’s beloved Kaeru-chan is sick, and he can’t make enough money for food and medicine just by singing and playing his guitar on the street, so he finds a string of odd jobs unil he gets himself mixed up with some sort of froggie yakuza group. I may have been a little bored until I got to that part, but all of a sudden I was interested again… There are a lot of books that would be improved with the addition of a froggie yakuza group.

にんじんぎらいのうさこさん
The Carrot-Hating Bunny
作:垣内 磯子(かきうち いそこ Kakiuchi Isoko)
絵:松成 真理子(まつなり まりこ, Matsunari Mariko)
Level 3 本, 101 pages, 3,400 words (est.)

Rather a hefty little book for level 3, and kind of meandering, but quite sweet. A bear wants to find work as a dentist, but somehow the area’s bunnies, squirrels and so on get queasy at the idea of a big bear poking around in their teeth and business is nonexistent. He hears about a bunny called Usako who hates carrots and only eats chocolate, and wants to do her the favor of taking care of her no-doubt horrendous teeth, but none of his plots to get her through the door work at all…

盲導犬アンドリューの一日
A Day In The Life of Andrew The Guide Dog
作:松井 進(まつい すすむ, Matsui Susumu)
絵:鈴木 びんこ(すずき びんこ, Suzuki Binko)
Level 3 絵本, 27 pages, 2,400 words (est.)

My third book narrated by a dog — I really do need to find more! I didn’t know the ins and outs of how guide dogs work for their owners, so it was educational for me as well. Maybe it’s a little naive, but I was surprised that people with guide dogs can be refused service in Japanese hotels and restaurants.

カレーライスおかわり!
More Curry Rice, Please!
作/絵:土田 義晴(つちだ よしはる, Tsuchida Yoshiharu)
Level 3 本, 77 pages, 900 words (est.)

This was another meandering little level 3 book about cooking lots of curry rice for the other animals working to take in the rice harvest. I’m such a sucker for books about animals cooking, and this book made me want to try to make fried eggplant and tomato curry myself, even though I’m generally relatively indifferent to eggplant.

ひみつたんていワンダーモール とめろ!せきゆパニック
Secret Sleuth Wonder Mole: Stop Right There! Oil Panic
作/絵:はら ひろあき & バースディ (Hara Hiroaki and the members of Birthday)
Level 3 絵本, 80 pages, 2,400 words (est.)

This is another Zorori-style book that’s partly prose and partly presented manga-style; if you liked the Zorori series, these might be worth a try too. There’s a modest set of four in the series, but they have the disadvantage of not being in stock at Kinokuniya at the moment. (They also have the disadvantage of not starring Zorori, but so do a lot of books.) In this one, Mogi (the “wonder mole” of the title) uncovers a plot to control the world’s oil.

ピエロのおくりもの
The Clown’s Gift
作:おのでら やえ(Onodera Yae)
絵:木村 智美(きむら さとみ, Kimura Satomi)
Level 3 本, 79 pages, 1,800 words (est.)

For his birthday, Takeshi gets a toy clown holding a violin who plays music if you wind him up. As it happens, Takeshi longs to learn how to play the violin, but he’s too ashamed to ask his parents to let him learn something like that because all of his friends are into baseball, soccer and so on. But the toy clown gives him the courage to follow his dream… A very sweet little book, and surprisingly, although it’s got several marks of low-level 3 books (large text, spaces between words, almost no kanji), it has almost no pictures.

キンギョのてんこうせい
The Transfer Student Goldfish
作:阿部 夏丸(あべ なつまる, Abe Natsumaru)
絵:村上 康成(むらかみ やすなり, Murakami Yasunari)
Level 3 本, 77 pages, 1,500 words (est.)

The loach (for future reference: 泥鰌) Dojio is the outcast of Donut Pond, and he prays that he can make just one friend. Then, a goldfish comes splashing down from the sky… But will she want to be friends with him, or will she prefer all the other fish that make fun of him? I thought I knew where this one was going, and I so didn’t. It’s a little refreshing to read a kids’ book where the moral of the story isn’t “It’s good to fit in and make friends with everyone” but something more like “Seriously, screw all those jerks.”

“大きな家”を見てごらん!
Come See The “Big House!”
Level 3 本, 63 pages, 1,300 words (est.)
The “Big House” is a retirement home, a cheery and active one in the middle of town with kids coming to visit. Its founder created it because of a story he heard when he was a young boy, told to him by an old man about the time when he was a young boy and found his grandma in a disturbing, bleak retirement home.

やまだまやだあっ!
I’m Maya Yamada!
作:杉本 深由起(すぎもと みゆき, Sugimoto Miyuki)
絵:長谷川 知子(はせがわ ともこ, Hasegawa Tomoko)
Level 3 本, 48 pages, 1,700 words (est.)

I’m disappointed there’s not a whole series about this little chatterbox kid with the palindrome name (when written with the last name first, that is), because I would totally read them. It’s kind of like the book about the biggest glutton in class (of which there is a series, which I’d rather like to read, illustrated by the same person incidentally) — the inner lives of first graders are really kind of fun.

なんでもぽい!
Throw It All Away!
作:山中 恒(やまなか ひさし, Yamanaka Hisashi)
絵:赤坂 三好(あかさか みよし, Akasaka Miyoshi)
Level 3 本, 48 pages, 1,200 words (est.)

If I didn’t think of this one as “whimsical” I would have to think of it as “portrait of a budding sociopath,” so I choose to go with “whimsical.” Mariko wishes her annoying mom and brother would just go away, along with all of her toys that she’s being forced to clean up; as it happens, she finds a way to get everything she wants.

かいけつゾロリ たべるぜ!大ぐいせんしゅけん
Incredible Zorori: Eat Up! The Speed Eating Championship
作/絵:原 ゆたか(はら ゆたか, Hara Yutaka)
Level 3 絵本, 103 pages, 4,000 words (est.)

Another Zorori book♪ This one seemed more difficult to me than the previous one, though, and definitely more difficult than most level 3 books — lots of words I didn’t know, and more words in general. In any case, if anyone was wondering just how Zorori and the flunkies got as fat as we saw them in “Incredible Zorori: I’m Going To Slim Down! The Great Diet Strategy,” well, now we have an answer: massive amounts of curry, ramen, udon and so on. By the way, how many spicy food items can you identify in this picture? My score is 20/24. (My husband says I frequently make that face when I’m cooking, too. What can I say, I like adding spices to things.)

かいけつゾロリ カレーvs.ちょうのうりょく
Incredible Zorori: Curry vs. ESP
作/絵:原 ゆたか(はら ゆたか, Hara Yutaka)
Level 3 絵本, 107 pages, 4,000 words (est.)

More good times with my favorite trickster fox in the whole world♪ Zorori somehow acquires the ability to bend spoons just by saying “I want to eat curry!” (I’m not sure if there is a reason for this that I missed somehow, or this kind of thing just happens in his world); he joins forces with three kids, each with their own psychic power, in order to find out the secrets of a curry factory that just opened nearby.

わらいボール
The Laughter Ball
作:赤羽じゅんこ(あかはねじゅんこ, Akahane Junko)
絵:岡本順(おかもとじゅん Okamoto Jun)
Level 3 本, 77 pages, 1,300 words (est.)

When Yūya, looking for some equipment for gym class, comes across a bit of graffiti depicting a ninja, she comes to life and gives him the task of collecting people’s laughter for her; she’s spent so much time training that she’s forgotten how to have fun.

やまねこようちえん
Wildcat Kindergarten
作:那須田 淳(なすだ じゅん, Nasuda Jun)
絵:武田 美穂(たけだ みほ, Takeda Miho)
Level 3 本, 79 pages, 1,400 words (est.)

Sakura doesn’t like going to kindergarten, but when her cat tells her about the kindergarten he has to go to, Wildcat Kindergarten, she’s curious about it, so they go together early one morning to learn all the things necessary to make kittens into proper cats.

やどかりどんのやどさがし
Don The Hermit Crab Finds A New Shell
作:大島まや(おおしままや, Ōshima Maya)
絵:高部晴市(たかべせいいち, Takabe Seiichi)
Level 3, 77 pages, 1,700 words (est.)

Don’s old shell is getting tiresome, so off he goes to find a new one; he comes across a turtle shell (still occupied by a turtle), a glass bottle, a shell too big for one hermit crab and other possible houses.

きんぎょひめ
The Goldfish Princess
作:とだかずよ(Toda Kazuyo)
絵:おぐまこうじ(Oguma Kōji)
Level 3 本, 64 pages, 2,500 words (est.)

A sweet, curiously disjointed little book about a goldfish who becomes a human girl. It’s a little longer than a lot of my level 3 books, and very cheerful, something like a series of animated shorts in book form ; it merrily skips from episode to episode, and I’m reading along and thinking “Hey, I wanted to know what happened next!”

This is an incomplete list of all the Level 2 books available from the Seattle Public Library; it’ll be updated as I keep reading them.

From Extensive Reading in Japanese, the definition of a Level 2 book:

Level 2: Mainly hiragana and katakana text. If there are kanji, furigana is given for each kanji. The text is longer but still contains a lot of pictures to aid student comprehension. Japanese native readers would be five to eight years old.

I’ve added Amazon links for the benefit of having title images and just in case anyone wants to subsidize my reading, but if you’re interested in ordering any of these, I’d also recommend you look them up on Kinokuniya’s website and compare shipping costs. Also, all title translations are my own unless otherwise indicated, names are family name first, then given name, and 作 and 絵 mean “author” and “illustrator,” respectively.

きいろい ことり
The Yellow Bird
作/絵:ディック・ブルーナ(Dick Bruna)
Level 2 絵本, 24 pages, 175 words (est.) ★★★★☆ hardcover

This one is by Dick Bruna, who did the Miffy books, and I do love the Miffy books (although I read them in Ann Arbor, so I haven’t written about them here) so I read this even though there’s no Miffy in it. A little yellow bird visits a farm and hears all about farm life from a friendly dog.

ばけばけ町のべろろんまつり
Spooky Town’s Slurpy Festival
作/絵:たごもりのりこ(Tagomori Noriko)
Level 2 絵本, 32 pages, 350 words (est.) ★★★★★ Hardcover

This one was awesome, so it got its own review.

ヤドカシ不動産
“Hermit Crab” Real Estate Agency
作:穂高順也(ほたかじゅんや, Hotaka Jun’ya)
絵:石井聖岳(いしいきよたか, Ishii Kiyotaka)
Level 2 絵本, 32 pages, 550 words (est.) ★★★★★ Hardcover

I pretty much just got this one because I like hermit crabs, but it was awfully cute, and a good example of how the right picture books can be a great foundation for more advanced reading; in this book, the reader learns the word for “real estate agency,” what a real estate agent does and how he or she talks, which is a better start than having to memorize twenty real-estate related words in difficult kanji all at once.

Why did I put “hermit crab” in quotes? Well, hermit crab is usually 宿借り, or “home-renter,” which makes sense if you know how hermit crabs move from shell to shell; this hermit crab is a 宿貸し, or “home-lender” because he’s in the business of finding other animals the perfect home!

ボリスとあおいかさ
Boris and the Blue Umbrella
作/絵:ディック・ブルーナ(Dick Bruna)
Level 2 絵本, 28 pages, 140 words (est.) ★★★☆☆ Hardcover

I’ve mentioned my fondness for Dick Bruna’s books before: they’re on the easy end of level 2, but the sentences are complex enough to save them from level 1, and the Miffy books I came across in Ann Arbor were the first books that really made me understand the idea of extensive reading, so even though I’m beyond them at this point I can’t help but pick them up when I see them. In this book, Boris has various adventures with his blue umbrella.

みんなで7だんね
We Can All Do Level 7!
作:宮川ひろ(みやかわひろ, Miyakawa Hiro)
絵:長谷川知子(はせがわともこ Hasegawa Tomoko)
Level 2 絵本, 40 pages, 700 words (est.) ★★★★☆ Hardcover

Atsuko has decreased use of her left arm and leg because of a childhood illness, so PE class is a challenge for her; when the class has to practice jumping over the vaulting box, she can barely make it over the first levels. (This is not a gadget I was aware of before, as I’m decidedly not a gymnast; it’s an adjustable hurdle, or 跳び箱.) Will she ever be able to pass level 7 along with her classmates? This one, as the word count indicates, is on the higher end of level 2.

 

This is an incomplete list of all the Level 1 books available from the Seattle Public Library; it’ll be updated as I keep reading them.

From Extensive Reading in Japanese, the definition of a Level 1 book:

Level 1: Hiragana and katakana only. The text is very short, and has one-word sentences, phrases, and some complete sentences. There are plenty of visual aids to help convey meaning. Japanese native readers would be three to six years old.

I’ve added Amazon.co.jp links for the benefit of having title images and just in case anyone wants to subsidize my reading, but if you’re interested in ordering any of these, I’d also recommend you look them up on Kinokuniya’s website and compare shipping costs, because it’s likely to be less expensive that way. Also, all title translations are my own unless otherwise indicated, names are family name first, then given name, and 作 and 絵 mean “author” and “illustrator,” respectively.

I haven’t actually read any yet, so this is basically a placeholder.