Mameshiba translates literally to “Bean Dog,” bean-shaped creatures with dog faces and ears. They started out as a series of TV trivia shorts in Japan and became so popular they got their own merchandising line. Viz Media picked up these popular and cute pups and have created an original series of books for young readers.
Mameshiba Love Winter
Written by Traci N. Todd; Illustrated by Thomas Flintham
Viz Media; November 2011; ISBN: 978-1-4215-4110-5
12 pgs.; $12.99
Everyone loves to play in the snow, especially Mameshiba! It’s snowed at their house, and they can’t wait to go outside and start building a snow castle. Everyone has suggestions about what the castle should look like, and Lentil Bean begins to draw plans to build it. The other Mameshiba are so excited, they start building with Lentil’s plans, but with everyone doing their own thing, things don’t turn out like they expected. Lentil comes to the rescue with a new plan everyone is happy with.
I enjoyed Mameshiba Love Winter. The story was short and simple. Most of the words used are not difficult and could easily be picked up by an emerging reader. The only exception would be the Mameshiba names. The text does make it easy to tell who is talking, so once the reader knows the characters, they should be able to pick up the names easily. While the story is short, it is still able to get in a lesson about working together being more fun than going off and doing your own thing. The lesson is subtle, so it won’t be obvious to younger readers, but they will still get it.
The art is simple as well. The Mameshiba don’t have a lot of detail, but they come in many different and vibrant colors. They are cute in their winter hats and scarves. Most of the action for the story happens in the foreground, with the characters easily standing out, while the background is filled with the others playing in snowdrifts, building snowmen, and having snowball fights. All this activity doesn’t distract from the story. It gives younger children something to look at while the story it being read to them so they don’t get bored too quickly.
At the end of the book is a pop-up of the snow castle the Mameshiba worked together to build. Also included are stand-ups of the Mameshiba as well as stickers, making the book into a portable play-set. Hidden in the pages of the book there is also a secret Mameshiba called “The Scream,” giving kids one more fun thing to do with the book.
Mameshiba Love Winter is cute and filled with a lot of fun. Children up to 6 will enjoy all aspects of this book, as will fans of Mameshiba. This book would be a great addition to any library or collection for toddlers to first grade.