Review of Sato the Rabbit

Sato the Rabbit
by Yuki Ainoya; illus. by the author; trans. from Japanese by Michael Blaskowsky
Primary    Enchanted Lion    64 pp.    g
2/21    978-1-59270-296-1    $16.95

Sato is a little boy in a rabbit costume, a kind of Japanese second cousin to Max in his wolf suit. In a set of seven small vignettes that span the seasons, Sato’s daily activities — watering the garden, doing the laundry, splashing in puddles — turn into magic. Cracking open a walnut reveals an inviting miniature world. Eating a watermelon turns into a seafaring adventure. (“Nothing compares to eating watermelon on the sea.”) Observing a meteor shower leads to a star-collection mission. Paintings in a naive style burst with saturated color — watermelon red, night-sky blue, spring chartreuse. All the events coalesce in the final section, in which Sato goes on a winter forest walk, collecting ice in many colors. “The events of spring, summer, and fall are frozen into the waters that flowed through the forest.” As he puts the various pieces of ice into drinks, he relives his travels, and the reader revisits the colors that enlivened each event. For fans of Doi’s Chirri & Chirra books (Underground, rev. 9/19; In the Tall Grass, rev. 11/17; and others), this import provides another cozy glimpse into mystery, independence, and imaginative play.

From the January/February 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Sarah Ellis
Sarah Ellis is a Vancouver-based writer and critic, recently retired from the faculty of The Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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