Yuki Ainoya’s Sato the Rabbit

h1 January 26th, 2021 by jules


“One day, Haneru Sato became a rabbit. He’s been a rabbit ever since.” Thus opens Yuki Ainoya’s Sato the Rabbit (Enchanted Lion), a Japanese picture book import (originally published in 2006) coming to shelves in February. This remarkably child-friendly story, clocking in at nearly 60 pages, is a treat.

This book, evidently the first in a trilogy, includes seven stories of boy-turned-rabbit Sato, who explores his world with wonder and imagination — traversing the forest behind his garden, collecting shooting stars from the sky, collecting ice from the forest floor, and more. Sato’s world is one of metamorphoses both extraordinary and surreal. Grass becomes the sea; Sato, a ship; and his laundry, a sail. The watermelon he snacks on becomes a boat. An “especially luminous puddle” he finds after a rain is a “window to the sky.” And a walnut he cracks open is filled with surprise delights.

Translated from Japanese by Michael Blaskowsky, the text captures the wonder with which children see and experience the world, their senses on overdrive. (When Sato eats a watermelon, we read: “It spreads from his mouth throughout his entire body.”) Ainoya’s soft, expressive illustrations feature warm colors and full-bleed spreads juxtaposed with ones that showcase smaller vignettes of Sato on the move, experiencing — and accepting, without even blinking — the astonishments his imagination has to offer and the ways in which that imagination informs his world.

Below are some spreads from the book. Enjoy!



Two images above: Click either one to see spread in its entirety


(Click spread to enlarge)



Two images above: Click either one to see spread in its entirety



Two images above: Click either one to see spread in its entirety


” … it becomes a sky filled with stars.”
(Click spread to enlarge)


(Click cover to enlarge)


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SATO THE RABBIT. Copyright © 2006 Yuki AINOYA. Original Japanese edition published by SHOGAKUKAN. Copyright © 2021 by Enchanted Lion Books for the English-language translation. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Enchanted Lion Books, Brooklyn, NY.

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