Yotsuba & Monochrome Animals

Distributor:  MediaWorks

Artist:  Kiyohiko Azuma & Yotuba Sutazio

Suggested Retail Price (SRP):  838 (approx. 4)

Number of Pages:  30

ISBN-10:  4-8402-3714-X

ISBN-13:  978-4-8402-3714-7

Reviewer:  Rich (Webmaster)


Sometimes as an anime fan you can be blinded by liking a series.  When I was in Japan I saw this Yotsuba& book, it was sealed so I couldn't see what it was, but it was next to the latest volume of the Yotsuba& manga.  Now, if I had been sensible I would have asked the clerk what kind of book it was, instead I thought 'it's a Yotsuba& book!  I'll buy that!!'.

Unfortunately for me it turned out to be a children's picture book.

 Yotsuba & Monochrome Animals is unusual by Japanese book standards in that the title tells you everything about it.  It is a hardback book featuring pictures of Yotsuba, the spaced out green-haired lead character from Kiyohiko Azuma's manga Yotsuba&, with black and white animals.  Each double page spread has a cute picture of Yotsuba and one animal on one side, and the name of the animal in Japanese and English, plus its scientific name.

As with most children's picture books of this type the images are simple and there are no background features, it's simply designed to help children learn about animals.  The images are all big. bold and very cute, with the curious Yotsuba either imitating the animals or interacting with them.  The animals featured include the ones you'd expect if you were thinking of black and white animals - penguin, panda, zebra, cow, skunk, killer whale and dalmatian - but the list also includes the less obvious ruffed lemur, Malayan tapir, Abyssinian colobus monkey and, errr, Southern tamandua.  If you're wondering what a tamandua is, it appears to be something like a small anteater.  But black and white.  No, I hadn't heard of it ether...

The book is very cute, good fun and a nice idea.  It's smaller than most children's picture books and has a flycover, which suggests that it's designed to be read to children rather than left for them to read and handle themselves.  To be honest for an adult fan the book holds limited appeal other than as a cute curio, but if you have kids it'd be a nice way to wean them on to manga early.  There's little text apart from the animal names, and it's nice to see some unusual animals included as it will no doubt pique children's curiosity.  The only shame is that the book is very short (that list of animals I gave above is the complete list of animals featured), but at 4 it's not a bad purchase compared to many children's books.


Apart from the flycover and a bit of publishing info there's nothing, although my copy did have a flyer in it advertising the Yotsuba& CD album (which is odd considering there's no anime series) and a glossy paper bookmark advertising the latest manga volume.


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