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Tell Me a Story, Please

The sweet magical tale from Japan highlights the power of reading aloud and the joy of creating a story.

under a tall maple tree, a young Japanese girl reading stories attracts some animal companions.

Though Yuka can read on her own now that she’s in first grade, she loves listening to her mother tell stories in different voices. When her new baby brother arrives, her mother is too busy to read her stories, so Yuka tries to find someone else to read to her. When no one is willing or able, Yuka rests under a large maple tree in the little forest growing in her neighborhood. Though Yuka usually dislikes the sound of her voice, there’s no one around, so she starts to read a story aloud. Soon, a squirrel, a rabbit, a monkey, and other creatures come to listen to her stories and request more stories that feature animals like them. Inspired by different folk and fairy tales, Yuka starts to write her own stories and even enjoys reading aloud to her new animal friends. This latest in the Forest Friends series is another charming tale about talking animals and unexpected friendships. The animals’ opinions and commentary are fun and add a comedic element. Readers may be spurred to read aloud and create their own stories. The cute, whimsical illustrations switch from black and white to color, adding a touch of playfulness. This Japanese import highlights a couple of Japanese folktales and other folk and fairy tales from around the world.

A lovely, funny story about friendship and finding confidence. (Fantasy. 5-8)

—Kirkus Reviews

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