cover image GURI AND GURA


Rieko Nakagawa, Author, Yuriko Yamawaki, Illustrator, Peter Howlett, Translator , illus. by Yuriko Yamawaki, trans. by Peter Howlett and Richard McNamara. Tuttle $10.95 (27p) ISBN 978-0-8048-3352-3

Guri and Gura, popular characters in Japan since their 1963 debut (of which this book is the translation), enter the American market with the first of the publisher's projected series. Here, the two exuberant mice find a huge egg in the forest and decide to use it to make "a sponge cake so big we can eat it from dawn to dusk and still have some left over." Realizing that the egg is too big to move, Guri and Gura haul a huge frying pan (and everything else they need) over to the egg, then mix up the batter, build a fire and share the results with all the animals who have sniffed out their cake. Yamawaki's pared-down line drawings deliver information plainly and directly, with little shading on an expansive white background: Gura holds the lid of the pan (which towers over him), Guri raises his tiny mouse fist in excitement, and the nicely risen cake is revealed. A childlike refrain becomes a light-hearted mantra: "My name is Guri. And my name is Gura. And what do you think we like to do best? Cook and eat. Eat and cook. Yeah! Guri and Gura, that's us." The book's visual appeal is dampened somewhat by bland type design and bleed-through on the matte pages. But cake-making is always a delicious theme for small readers, and Guri and Gura's inventive energy loses nothing in the Pacific crossing. Ages 4-8. (Jan.)

FYI: Guri and Gura's Special Gift ($10.95 32p -3357-5), which is set in a garden, will be published simultaneously.