March 31, 2011

Gyo Fujikawa Rocks My World

I’m so sorry. Yes, more Hello Kitty. Clearly I have some kind of problem.
Remember me talking about the Marvelousness of Gyo Fujikawa’s books the other day? She has a lot more than what I showed you! One of the best things my mom-in-law ever did for me was to introduce me to the world of Gyo Fujikawa.(Besides giving birth to my amazing husband Andrew. Did you see what I just did? Slipped that in?? Soooooo clever!)

I discovered recently that Gyo’s work (primarily done in the ‘60’s through the ‘80’s – she died in 1998) was considered socially conscious before its time as she featured multi-racial characters in her books long before others followed suit.

I thought and thought about what I could say about Gyo’s books and her art. In a nutshell, her work captures the purest essence of childhood and is the perfect realization of a child’s imagination. I’ve never seen another artist who so completely puts The World of Children on paper and brings it to life, in all of its messiness, playfulness, silliness and JOYFULNESS.

Her fairy tale book spans all ages. I began reading the simpler stories to Julia when she was 3. We now can read some of the longer ones together. There are some fairly text-heavy stories in the book as well, so we will have more to look forward to and read as she ages!

Just a few years ago, several of Gyo’s books were out of print – in the past couple of years MANY have been reissued including Oh What a Busy Day. It’s basically a collection of adorable depictions of Fun Things Children Do and a reviewer on Amazon said “In my opinion this is the best children's book ever written and illustrated. I have 3 copies of it because I am so paranoid of it getting lost or worn out. I loved it as a kid and my kids love it. Its worth what ever price it goes for.” I would agree!

One caveat, which did not bother me at all but may bother some, so I have to mention it – there is a poem in Oh What a Busy Day called “The Babes in the Woods” – it’s about two children who wander into the woods and perish. It’s sensitively done, really. Edit the wording or skip the poem until kids are older, but don’t skip the book because of it!

Come Follow Me is actually out of print but you can buy it used, like I did. Mine arrived in great condition, and I got it for a great price! It is absolutely DARLING and is probably my personal favorite out of all her books.

Are You My Friend Today is out of print as well, but can be purchased used. This one is Julia’s favorite Gyo book and the one we have read the most together. Cuteness on a stick! (Where did that phrase ever come from anyway??)

We have about four or five different nursery rhyme books and this one is by far the favorite around here. Julia loved these as a toddler and she still loves them.

What baffles me is that her newly reprinted books can be had for under $10 dollars. These are big, beautiful hardcover books! I don’t know who is handling her estate but her books are worth SO MUCH MORE. But hey, it just means that Gyo is affordable and accessible to more people.

Oh and did I mention her ABC book? I’ll let you discover that one on your own.


  1. Barnes and Noble sells his version of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" which was out of print for a long while. I still have the one from my childhood, so it was heartwarming to see it back in print. Beautiful work.

  2. We have that one as well!! It's LOVELY, I just got it this past Christmas, after coveting it for a good long while. It's basically my goal to own EVERY book she has ever written!

    1. Gyo rocks my world too!!!

    2. we are bound to be Very Good Friends I think, Miss Leanne! Anyone who adores Gyo is a-OK tip-top in my book :)

  3. It's so exciting to find someone who 'gets it' how awesome Gyo is.

  4. My MIL just arrived yesterday and brought books for the kids. She brought Gyo's Fairy Tale book for Madeline! :)

    1. score 10 points for grandma!!! i love this book so much, we've gleaned so much enjoyment from it over the past few years...:)

  5. I recently ordered Gyo's A to Z picture book and also children's poems, illustration by Gyo. I happen to come across it accidentally, i was enchanted...lost in the world. When I looked at the pictures I felt this book will definitely will make it to the 'childhood memories' for my daughter. I just hope she will love it. Thank you for introducing me to other Gyo's book, definitely ill buy it. I haven't browsed your site yet,hope you have listed many more amazing books.


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