Yotsuba&! Volume 11
If you’re not reading this charming series about a curious little girl discovering the world around her, I’m not sure what I could say now to convince you. (Unless it’s how jealous I am of you that you have over 10 books to enjoy.) It’s consistently good, enjoyable in its naive portrayal of the world, and encouraging in its optimism.
In this volume by Kiyohiko Azuma, Yotsuba learns how to make noodles in a local shop. Her happy face and button eyes as she and the older gentleman working the dough discuss udon and ramen convey how she’s thinking about the yummy taste, a feeling conveyed to the reader.
Dad’s panicked reaction when the shop owners meet him could fit into any of the stories: “I’m so sorry! What has she done? I apologize for everything!” There’s other food in this book, too, as Yotsuba tries pizza (as well as delivery) for the first time. They go chestnut picking and play with bubbles. Yotsuba also gets a camera and has to rescue her teddy bear from a dog. That last story is touching, as the little girl has trouble waiting for the toy to be repaired afterwards.
Yotsuba&! has all the wonder of seeing a child learn about the world without any of the annoyance of having to take care of her yourself. The chapter end illustrations, with Yotsuba and her bear, are especially cute.