7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #330: Featuring Komako Sakai

h1 May 12th, 2013 by jules

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As I’ve made clear before here at 7-Imp, I’m a fan of the illustration work of Komako Sakai (who even visited for a brief interview last year). So, I was happy to see that she’s illustrated a new book, this one written by Hatsue Nakawaki. It’s called Wait! Wait!, and it’s for very young children. It will be released by Enchanted Lion Books in June, but I’ve got a sneak-peek of it today.

In a story mirroring the staccato rhythms of a toddler, we meet a young child dressed in overalls, ever-curious about the natural world. The child spots a butterfly—“Wait! Wait!”—and watches it flutter away. With each animal seen, the child reaches out to touch and learn, yet the creature flees — flying in the air, wiggling away. In the end, an adult (whom we assume is the parent) picks up the child, saying “Wait! Wait” in the same manner in which the child was trying to secure and hold other creatures. He then places the child on his shoulders, saying “Here we go!”

Sakai’s delicately-colored acrylic and oil pencil illustrations are beautiful. Her tight focus in these spreads puts us right with the toddler, exploring and reaching. She also includes pretty much the essentials here — the child and the creatures with which he or she (this could easily be either a male or female child) is fascinated, with the addition of a few supporting details, barely outlined in some cases, and generous white space. It really works. And I’m taken with her flying pigeons, as you can see below, and the compelling sense of movement here.

This is a gentle and perfectly paced story for very young children, originally published in Japan as Korya Mate Mate in 2002. (This First American Edition is translated by Yuki Kaneko.) Here’s a bit more art.

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WAIT! WAIT! First American Edition copyright © 2013 by Enchanted Lion Books, New York. Text copyright © 2002 by Hatsue Nakawaki. Illustration copyright © 2002 by Komako Sakai.

* * * * * * *

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

I know I did this last week—one of those “my kicks ONE to SEVEN this week includes ONE thing”—but it’s another big kick for me:

I got a digital piano for my birthday from my considerate family. I’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano, yet our house is too tiny for a real one. The digital piano (with weighted keys and all) is the next best thing, and it’s really great. And I’M LEARNING TO PLAY! (My seven-year-old is learning with me.) Who’s gonna come to my first recital?

What are YOUR kicks this week? Happy Mother’s Day to my Imp readers …

22 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #330: Featuring Komako Sakai”

  1. What a fun book, I love the illustrations especially the page, ” Wait, wait.”
    Jules, I will be a t your recital. How fun. And weighted keys, cool.
    My kicks:
    1. Being home this weekend.
    2. Pulling weeds.
    3. First cut roses.
    4. Drama club.
    5. Sunshine.
    6. Robyn Hood Black’s interview
    7. Reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
    Have a great week.

  2. Good morning, Imps! Happy Mother’s Day to all of the parents here.

    Thanks for the sneak peek, Komako and Jules.

    Happy birthday, Jules! So excited that you have a piano in your house. 🙂 Have fun!

    Jone: Nice list, especially 4 & 5!

    My kicks from the past week include:
    1) Prep (grateful for the help and the unexpected audience)
    2) Audition
    3) Audition (different project, both joyous opportunities)
    4) Rehearsals
    5) Tackling challenges
    6) Remembering
    7) Unexpected thanks

  3. These images are lovely. I like all the white space. When it comes to products for children toddler=loud primary colors is often the norm.
    Jules- I’m intrigued by your piano. I can wait to get tickets to your recital.
    Jone- It will be a bit before we see roses but everything is coming up green now including weeds. 🙂
    1. Taking an extra studio day before going back to the Summer schedule at work.
    2. Ordered new postcards without over thinking it. Let me know if any Imps want to be on my mailing list.
    3. Having fun learning how to make animated GIFs.http://atlanticmo.tumblr.com/post/49877126377/pisces-mermaids-gif
    4. Youth Baseball. Go Red Sox!
    5. Mother’s Day acrostic
    6. My Mom
    7. Seeing clearly enough to feel lucky and grateful.
    Happy Mother’s Day!

  4. Thanks, Jules, for the great kicks. Yesterday my family and I got to meet Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen at the Eric Carle Museum — what a day! Here’s a new poem inspired by the verse of X.J. Kennedy:

    Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)

    Birdwatchers’ guidebooks are chock-full of facts.
    They tell you that waxwings have wings not of wax
    But of silky plumes made of hooklet and barb
    That, glimpsed from a distance, resemble the garb
    Of Napoleon’s soldiers, bedecked chevaliers
    Who dive from high perches when a rival appears.
    They’re solemn as churches, these birders’ reviews
    Of each patch of forest that passes for news.
    They’re not for cycloptics who scoff with derision
    At birdwatching toffs with binocular vision.
    They’re binders of questions no amateur’d ask:
    What face has the waxwing? A rakish black mask.
    A diet of cherries and raspberries, right?
    In summer, some waxwings catch bugs in midflight.
    You’ll learn waxwings whistle, both females and males.
    And if waxwings were wax, they’d have candles for tails.

    © 2013 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved

  5. Good Morning Everyone and Happy Mother’s Day!

    Jules- I am so coming to your recital!


    1. Perfect weather day!
    2. The Interestings
    3. Short weeks away from our closing on our new house.
    4. Finally being able to wear flip flops
    5. Flowering trees
    6. Long walks with our fluffy dog
    7. My girls.

  6. Quick fly by to say Happy Mother’s Day and Happy Birthday!! I would like front row tickets for your recital. Also, when I come to visit you, let’s play a duet — and we can do the same when you visit me :).

  7. Happy Mother’s Day to all.

  8. The artwork feels light, lively, fresh and new just like the subject. Thank you for sharing Komako and Jules.

    Jules: Glad you had a Happy Birthday and if I could, I would be at your recital. Perhaps you can make it virtual. 🙂
    Jone: First cut roses sounds heavenly; it will be close to the end of June here.
    Little Willow: Several auditions sounds perfect
    Moira: Making animated GIFs sound like fun
    Steven: I love Cedar Waxwings but you’ve made them magical
    Stacey: Being able to wear flip flops is a very good thing

    My kicks:
    1. My relentless spraying of deer gook (homemade and natural) worked—I have blooming tulips for the first time!
    2, New grass seed is coming up
    3. The snow that feel yesterday has all melted
    4. Read some amazing and fun picture books and middle grade books this week
    5. Nearly finished dividing up the nonfiction section of the middle school collection; some to elementary, some to high school. Middle school building is being closed.
    6. Received a surprise packet of thank-notes from a group of fifth grade students
    7. Walks with Xena plus workouts at gym

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  9. Hello, Kickers, and happy Mother’s Day!

    Love today’s artwork (and also the story). I like how not only do the illos (and text) give no hint of the child’s gender, but also indicate no particular culture or nationality. Very subtle.

    (It helps that “Wait!” is pretty much the only command we’ve succeeded to teach The Pooch. (She won’t come, etc., but she’ll turn into a statue when we need her to.))

    Jules: woot! (as you know) on the piano. Of course, since it’s digital and all, perhaps your local techie can somewhere down the line arrange output to, oh, say, MP3 format… Thank you for adding the “weighted keys” concept to my steamer trunk of stuff I might or might not ever need to know. (Nature hates a non-full steamer truck as much as a vacuum.)

    Hi, jone: I’m fascinated by the Henrietta Lacks story. Haven’t read the book yet, though; does the author say how s/he came to learn of the whole story? (I think I’d have about fallen over in that person’s shoes.)

    LW: okay, let’s see, in that list you’ve got gratitude (x2), discipline (x3 or more), joy, challenge, memory, and up-ended expectations (x2)… People within your everyday radius must be in a constant state of delight!

    Kicks here:

    1. First (FINALLY) successful garage sale. All credit to The Missus, Stepson, and Sis-in-Law (who together did all the work). The Missus remarked: “I feel so… weird. After all these years of trying to get rid of all that #@!%*, and now it’s… it’s… all gone.” 🙂
    2. Office reconstruction in temporary abeyance at work.
    3. PBS just got added to the Roku instant-streaming channel lineup. Frabjous!
    4. As a fan of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books, I really was not looking forward to seeing Tom Cruise in the role of someone described more in the, oh, say, Dolph Lundgren or Brian-Bosworth-in-his-younger-days mold — y’know, the giant, square-jawed, close-cropped-hair, classic ex-MP. But I suspended disbelief long enough to actually enjoy the Jack Reacher film on its own terms.
    5. Oh, right — we have a new roof. Almost forgot it, ’cause somehow they managed to strip the old one off and get the new one in place in a single 12-hour burst of activity. Took us twice that long to get our satellite-TV dish re-installed.
    6. Watching (from a great distance) as a friend — recently having had a double mastectomy, now undergoing chemo — writes a new daily post for the “Story a Day in May” thing.
    7. Not generally a Jay Leno fan, but I have admit that the Jack Rafferty “Pumpcast News thing made me bust out laughing. (Be sure to follow the related link to Part 2, btw.)

    Have a great week, all!

  10. [Wow, a lot of people chimed in before I finally got around to hitting the Submit Comment button…]

    Moira: I love your art, so am looking forward to seeing how your animated experiments go!

    Steven — They’re not for cycloptics who scoff with derision At birdwatching toffs with binocular vision went straight into my catalogue of rhymes I wish I’d written. 🙂

    Hi, Stacey. We like long walks with our fluffy Pooch, too (even if she manages to stay fluffy for only a couple days before her inner ragamuffin re-assumes control).

    Hi jama — if you and Jules don’t do your duet on a Kickin’ Sunday, I shall be very disappointed.

    Margie: hope you plan to post your magickal deer-gook recipe someplace. My whitetail-overrun NJ family would like to know ANYONE’s secret for keeping the critters away from the landscaping up close to the house, ha.

  11. What darling toddler-moment illustrations; appropriate on Mother’s Day! I agree, there is a fun sense of flight/flapping in that pigeon pic. And I’m feeling nostalgic over those baby overalls. Thanks for sharing.

    Jules, when do you find time to practice! Good for you. You’ll have to have a youtube recital so we can all come and cyber clap. Happy B-day and M’s-Day.

    The visiting grandmas are taking a short walk around the neighborhood (they like looking at gardens and talking about what does or doesn’t bloom in their own at home.) So, I have a few minutes to join in 7-Imp.

    Jone – I found Henrietta Lacks’ story so moving and interesting (and infuriating). Enjoy the read.

    LW – Let me know when prep becomes performance.

    Moira – I’d love one of your postcards. : – ) I have this bulletin board in my office entry…

    Steven – Never heard of a waxwing; now I’m picturing. Thx.

    Stacey – ‘flips flops’ are my fave term for those beachwalkers, zories, thong sandals, etc.

    jama — (a wave to you as you fly by).

    Margie – I’m encouraged by your deer gook success; I’m trying out a homemade mosquito trap involving brown sugar dissolved in water + yeast inside a reconfigured soda bottle. We’ll see…

    JES – I’m seeing your follow-up comments but not your kicks. Wonder if the cyberhounds got it?

    My quick kicks:

    1. Mom/grandmoms around on Mother’s Day, puttering and tidying and taking walks around local gardens.

    2. This documentary on author/illustrator Tomi Ungerer looks really interesting. Controversial amazingly talented man. Just added it to my hulu cue. http://www.faroutthemovie.com/

    3. This is my fave Ungerer story, The Three Robbers, made into a cool video. The odd soundtrack vocals really mesmerized my boys when they were little.


    4. Hubby made Belgian waffles with berries for M-day breakfast and we had grapefruit mimosa’s.

    5. New collection of little orchids to revive my various orchid baskets around the house.

    6. Lunch with agent; lucky to have her on my team.

    7. The movie 42. One of those which puts your own world/troubles in perspective. (And Harrison Ford is quite remarkable in it.)

    Happy Mother’s Day kickers! Have a good week.

  12. Charming illustrations – so glad you shared this!

    I saw the pic of your piano on fb – congrats and Happy Birthday!

    Awesome kicks from everyone else.

    My Kicks:
    1. Poem from Steven – thanks as always.
    2. rip-roaring waffle breakfast for Mother’s Day with lots of relatives
    3. Quiet afternoon playing with my Little
    4. as much as I love to wear it and carry her, having a day off wearing our Tiny in the carrier all day.
    5. iphone for MD gift – what a hubby I have!
    6. new chartreuse straight-legged SOFT cotton pants from Old Navy ( I LOVE THIS COLOR!)
    7. 2 weeks to Chicago for National Choral Festival – can’t wait!
    8. OK, one more! Great meeting with friend from Jordan who gave the YA novel I’m editing a look over for Arabic terms, clothing, names – fantastic time.

    Have a wonderful week.

  13. I didn’t make it here on the weekend due to back-to-back errands and fun social things, plus I bruised my hands so have been minimising typing – but so nice to come and read all the kicks! The poem is an extra treat.

    Happy mother’s day to all them mums here. I forgot the US and Australia shared the same day – we had overlapping mother’s day events here which resulted in a nice noisy mixed family gathering.

    A digital piano is a great pressie, Jules!

    I don’t know if you have had any news on adopting your Tiny foster daughter, Allison?

  14. I’m here! I’m here! Yesterday was so busy.

    Jone, glad you’re home and had a good week. Was your trip good?

    Little Willow, for a while there, I thought I was reading Moira’s kicks, and I was so confused as to what she was auditioning for. BREAK A LEG. I hope the rehearsals now are fun.

    Moira: Number 7 is always a good kick. And I LOVE being on your postcard mailing list, if it’s not too much trouble.

    Steven: That poem is a read-aloud treasure. All those crunchy consonants. So glad you got to hear Mac and Jon speak.

    Stacey, congrats on kick #3, and what are The Interestings?

    Jama: Deal!

    Margie: YOU HAD MORE SNOW? In May? … I’m glad you had a good week. It sounds like it was filled with all the right things.

    John, if I ever meet Jama in person, we’ll definitely record a duet.

    Denise, when does that Ungerer documentary come out? I’ve read about it for years, and I hope I don’t miss it. … And now I’ll have to hunt down the movie 42, too. Is it new? Sounds like you had a good Mother’s Day!

    Allison: Glad you had a good Mother’s Day, too. National Choral Festival … take me with you? May I hide in your suitcase? And your last kick is neat.

    Emmaco: Hope your hand heals soon, and “pressie” is all new to me. It took me a while to figure out what that means. (I haven’t had coffee yet.)

  15. Oh, wow, Denise was right: John’s kicks were stuck in spam all day. I’m so sorry! I was out and busy all day long. They are free now, John. Everyone, his kicks are up there.

    John, I love how “frabjous!” is an exclamation for you. Thanks for the links, which I’ll go explore, though my speakers aren’t working. I need to get that fixed. I’ve been wanting to hear that gas-station thing all week!

  16. Thanks, Jules — I didn’t realize they were caught in the trap until a little later, and by then I didn’t want to bug you with a whiney email or anything because, hey, it was Mother’s Day and you were probably out smearing books all over your arms and face. 🙂 (Apologies for the in-joke to anyone who doesn’t follow Jules on FB.)

    Maybe if your speakers are down you can route the sound through the piano? Sort of a whatsit, a completely digital version of a talk box or Sonovox.

  17. Wait! Wait! looks like a good one for storytime, too.

    Jules, You are so brave talking about a recital. If you do one, I would so want to go. I am not brave enough to play for others, aside from Maxwell and Lucas. Well, and the people who live above and below me, but there’s no choice for any of us there.

    My week was busy but good. I have a dear friend who is recovering from long illness, and I find it hard to be anything but happy and grateful while that’s going on.

  18. Well, a talk box is a new thing I learned today.

    And HA to the smearing-books-on-me comment. (For those who don’t know, my 7-year-old wrote on an about-my-mother sheet that I smell like “books.”)

    Adrienne, I was totally kidding about the recital, but if it were possible to get all the kickers in one spot, I’d play bravely.

  19. Allison — chartreuse? You go girl. : – )

    jules — from what I can tell, the Tomi Ungerer documentary came out in 2012. (There is a French and an English version… so maybe the French version came out earlier.) It did the festival circuit last year. I found it combing hulu movie trailers, so I bet it’s out on netflix and other post-run providers. It has Maurice Sendak and Norton Juster chiming in — among others I’m sure.

    JES — OMG the gas pump impromptu-karaoke couple? Fabulous! (I love the wife cracking up in the car. And the husband’s high-pitched back up. They seem so game to have fun!)

  20. Thanks, Denise. I’ll look for it.

  21. What endlessly adorable pictures. Love, love, love.


  22. Jules – do look out for Sakai’s Hannah’s Night – out in August (at least in UK) from Gecko Press. It’s SO beautiful.

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