Two recent children’s books from Enchanted Lion Books, I absolutely adore. Their stories are as simple as can be, and their illustrations beautiful, delicate, and immersive. Translated from Japanese, they capture the wonder and excitement of young children exploring their outdoor surroundings. In Wait! Wait! by Hatsue Nakawaki (New York: Enchanted Lion Books, 2013, 24 pp.), a young child follows various animals, the text exclaiming as if the child was speaking, “Wait! Wait!” – a butterfly, a lizard, a trio of pigeons, and a pair of housecats – but only to find that these animals can run or fly away. In the end, however, the young child becomes the object of attention as they are scooped up by father, saying “Wait! Wait!” as they walk through a city park. The oil and acrylic penciled illustrations by Komako Sakai focus on movement and expression. Wait! Wait! is such a simple book in text and image, yet wonderfully shows childhood curiosity about fellow animals. In the Meadow by Yukiko Kato (New York: Enchanted Lion Books, 2011, 32 pp.), also illustrated by Sakai, similarly follows a young girl as she explores alongside a river with her family. She begins by chasing a butterfly into a nearby meadow. From her viewpoint, we participate in her every observation, from smells and leaves ticking her legs to the feel of wind blowing over the grass. After a brief encounter with a grasshopper, she begins to feel alone in the tall grass, not realizing that she remains under the watchful eye of her mother.
I would recommend Wait! Wait! for toddlers, and In the Meadow for preschoolers/kindergartners, while folks of all ages could enjoy the simple messages and illustrations.