Parents' Guide to

Tasty Baby Belly Buttons: A Japanese Folktale

By Whitney Stewart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 2+

Japanese tale is reinvented with humor.

Book Judy Sierra Folklore 1999
Tasty Baby Belly Buttons: A Japanese Folktale Poster Image

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Meilo So's wild, swirling lines and unusual greens and oranges help create an otherworldly setting that matches the timeless folktale narrative. Picture-book audiences wiggle with mild fear when the author brings on the terrible oni. In well-timed passages, she eases the tension by highlighting tender moments between the old Japanese couple and Uriko.

The pages almost turn by themselves as Uriko marches off in her tall wooden sandals to find the monsters who have kidnapped the town's babies. The energy comes to a climax in the slapstick scene in which Uriko and her friends outmaneuver the fat-bellied oni. The only problematic aspect to this original telling of an old Japanese tale is in the foreign phrases that do not correspond to sounds English-speaking children understand. Some readers enjoy the unfamiliar phrases, but others are distracted by the sounds.

Book Details

  • Author: Judy Sierra
  • Illustrator: Meilo So
  • Genre: Folklore
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Knopf
  • Publication date: January 1, 1999
  • Number of pages: 29
  • Last updated: September 21, 2015

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