4.5 6
by Rosemary Wells

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What a great day it's going to be! Yoko's mother has made her favorite sushi for lunch. But when lunchtime arrives, suddenly everyone notices her sushi and the teasing starts. Rosemary Wells creates a tender, irresistible story, true to the heart of childhood.


What a great day it's going to be! Yoko's mother has made her favorite sushi for lunch. But when lunchtime arrives, suddenly everyone notices her sushi and the teasing starts. Rosemary Wells creates a tender, irresistible story, true to the heart of childhood.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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.
Children's Literature
Yoko's mother packs her "little cherry blossom" a lunch of seaweed, shrimp, cucumber, rice, tuna, and red bean ice cream to take to school. However, all the other children in Yoko's class (actually animals as depicted by Wells' illustrations) laugh at her unusual food. Yoko's teacher, a sweet natured fox named Mrs. Jenkins, decides to solve the problem by having an international day so everyone can try a bite of different foods. Valerie, the young rabbit, brings a plate of enchiladas. Timothy, the raccoon, brings coconut crisps to represent the Caribbean. Another raccoon brings potato knishes. Hazel, the young badger, brings Nigerian nut soup. Harry, the pig, brings Brazil nuts. Doris, the beaver, brings Irish stew. Monica, the rabbit, brings mongo smoothies. Fritz, the badger, brings spaghetti. A bull dog named Big Frank brings a pot of baked beans and Yoko's mother makes sushi, of course. Unfortunately, everyone refuses to try the sushi, except Timothy who is still hungry. Yoko shows him how to use chopsticks to eat the sushi and finds that he likes the taste very much. They become friends and decide to push their desks together.
School Library Journal
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, New Jersey
Bobbie Combs
Well's drawings portray each animal as unique and special, and her use of color is really exceptional, right down to the end-papers, which are covered with drawings of the most delicious-looking sushi.
Alternative Family Magazine
A. Magazine
...[A] cute story about the slow process of learning cultural tolerance...
Kirkus Reviews
The first graders in Mrs. Jenkins's room are quick to criticize the sushi, seaweed, and red bean ice cream that fill Yoko's willow-covered cooler. Even Mrs. Jenkins's brainstorm, to hold an International Food Day at Hilltop School, fails to entice anyone to try the deluxe sushi Yoko brings. It is ever-hungry Timothy who samples these Japanese treats, setting the stage for culinary experimentation. As always, Wells' unerring sense of how children think and feel shines through. The lesson might have been labored; instead, Wells offers some trusty guidance and a light touch, and leaves the conclusions to readers.

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.37(w) x 9.37(h) x 0.50(d)
AD350L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 6 Years

Meet 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.

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Yoko 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My grandson is in Kindergarten and loved this book. Subtle but effective messages about different cultures, customs, and trying new things. Great illustrations.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am nine and I love this book!I love Yoko! I like seeing inside all the character's homes.i recomend reading this book!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have seen a vast improvement in my son's diet since I read this book to him. Now he eats more and more every day. Thank-you, Yoko!