by Kiyohiko Azuma
published by Yen Press; $11.99 US
In an attempt to mimic and learn from the young Yotsuba’s acceptance of the world as a place of wonder to discover, I shall not complain about how long it’s been since the previous volume. (Book 9 was out last year about this time.) Instead, I shall enjoy the stories inside, glad that we have it at all. I’ve talked many times about how funny I find Yotsuba and her unique view of everyday life, and escaping into her way of thinking is a lovely way to spend an afternoon.
In the first chapter, we simply watch the little girl at play, whether it’s hide-and-seek, playing house, or swinging. Her imagination is always on display, and seeing it is a welcome reminder of how creativity is often connected with play. As always, Azuma does a terrific job capturing just the right moment to show us an energetic Yotsuba, putting us in the action. It takes a special mind to recall how a kid thinks and the jumps in logic they make, and more skill to give it to us in such entertaining ways.
Additional chapters show Yotsuba as she makes pancakes, with a charming determined face as she tells her daddy to let her do it; reminisces with Jumbo, showing him photos of previous adventures and desperately fighting off sleep in order to keep visiting; helps Daddy buy a digital camera (and has a wonderful time trying out all kinds of electronics); gets scared into taking responsibility for breaking a cup, in a chapter that will inspire debate about parenting practices; and welcomes the return of Danbo, the cardboard robot.
I found all of them inspiring, in different ways, recharging my soul.