This is a fun, lighthearted look at Japanese culture and family life, based on the childhood reminisces of author/illustrator Setsu Broderick, aided by co-author Willamarie Moore. Much of the story is told via a series of delightful, humorous illustrations that proceed through the year, showing seasonal festivals and activities such as O-Bon, O-hanami (cherry blossom viewing), and preparing for the New Year. As readers delight in the charming illustrations, they also learn about many Japanese traditions and customs, such as gathering around the kotatsu to stay warm, throwing soybeans to keep away ogres, and hanging handmade teru-teru-bozu dolls out the window to stop the rain. Also included are illustrations and information about many traditional Japanese games, toys, foods, and celebrations. All in all, the book provides a magical feast for the eye and the mind. Children and adults will both delight in the book's warm and funny depiction's of traditional Japanese family life. The large illustrations contain numerous details, which in many cases may not be familiar to non-Japanese readers. These details are explained in the accompanying essays, close-up illustrations, and explanations. All-in-all, this book provides a thoroughly charming window into another culture.
Setsu Broderick grew up in a small country village in Western Japan in the 1950s and attended art college in Japan. She has worked as a designer and illustrator in Los Angeles for over 20 years, and has previously illustrated six books, including Cat Blessings, Cats Rule!, Dog Blessings, Dogs Rule! and The Little Book of All Things Cat. Setsu's humorous illustrations, designs, and artwork are exhibited throughout the world. Max, her desk-chewing cockatoo, is her most vocal art critic. Setsu frequently returns to Japan to visit her Mom cat and brother and sister kittens and their families. Willamarie Moore is currently the Head of School Programs and Resources at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She previously worked as the Manager of East Asian Programs at the Boston Children's Museum, where she was also the lead content developer for the award winning exhibition Five Friends From Japan: Children in Japan Today. She has developed many educational materials about Japan, China, and other countries and is currently working on a new children's book, tentatively titled All About Japan, for Tuttle. Willamarie lived, studied and worked in Japan for several years and returns as often as she can.