Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Yoko

Yoko

Rosemary Wells
Picture Book  Series
For ages 5 to 7
Hyperion , 2009   ISBN: 978-1423119838

Today is going to be a special day for Yoko because her mother is going to prepare all of Yoko's favorite foods for lunch to take to school. When she opens her cooler at lunchtime, Yoko finds sushi made with rice, cucumber, shrimp, seaweed and tuna. Unfortunately Yoko's enjoyment of her lunch, and later her bean ice cream snack, is completely ruined because all the other children at school think her food is "yuck-o-rama." Poor Yoko is very upset, and in turn her wonderful teacher, Mrs. Jenkins, is upset.

Thankfully, Mrs. Jenkins is a clever and creative teacher and she comes up with a plan to help her students see that diversity is a good thing, and trying new things can be fun. Will Mrs. Jenkin's plan work, and will the children in Yoko's class give her Japanese food a chance?

In this beautifully illustrated picture book Rosemary Wells perfectly captures the discomfort a child can feel because he or she is different from the other children in class. There is no doubt that children can be unkind to the one in their midst who comes from a different culture, who looks different, who wears different clothes, or who eats different food. In this sympathetic and comforting story, Rosemary Wells shows her readers how miserable it feels to be left out without preaching to them, and she gives her readers a plausible and highly satisfactory ending in which Yoko finds someone who is happy to share her food and her uniqueness.

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