Sato the Rabbit: A Sea of Tea by Yuki Ainoya

Sato the Rabbit: A Sea of Tea by Yuki Ainoya. Translated by Michael Blaskowsky. Enchanted Lion Books, 2022. 9781592703555

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Format: Hardcover

Genre:  Fantasy

What did you like about the book? The third and final book about Sato the Rabbit takes readers on more fantastical adventures. Like the other books, Sato finds portals into other worlds through everyday items and foods. Here, his adventures start with a cup of tea, a giant raspberry, a scoop of snow, and other familiar things in a child’s life. But reality gives way to gentle trips of the imagination, into worlds conjured by shapes and colors, such as in my favorite chapter, “A Sea of Tea.” Sato gazes into the setting sun while stirring his tea, and the shimmers of the liquid turn in a sea of tea, on which he is paddling, on a mint leaf, with his spoon as the oar. He pokes the lowering orange sun with his spoon, and fries it up, flips it, then eats the lovely pancake it has become. Each short chapter with simple descriptive text is a foray into Sato’s unique imagination.

Lovely watercolor-like jewel tone colors in soft shapes make each imaginative adventure a happy event, free of danger. I love the elemental objects that kick off each journey, and the surprise where each one takes the reader. This series is not for everyone; there is no overarching story. But for those who enjoy pure whimsy, it is a fun journey.

Anything you didn’t like about it? The first book introduces the boy Haneru Sato, who becomes a rabbit one day. I would have liked a reminder of this introduction.

To whom would you recommend this book? For older fans of imaginative picture books, ages 4-8, who enjoyed Kaya Doi’s Chirri & Chirra series. Art rooms could use the books as idea starters.

Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Near the top

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: January 17, 2022

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