In this second volume of the very funny and sweet manga series, the little green-haired Yotsuba is back, starring in stories just as hilarious and touching as in the first book. I have to sheepishly admit that the "&!" at the end of the title completely baffled me until my nine-year-old pointed out the (now obvious) fact that each book is divided into sections, and each section is labeled: "Yotsuba & ____!" Duh.
This volume sees Yotsuba trying her hand at drawing ("Yotsuba & Drawing!", playing a delightful trick on her father while he's asleep ("Yotsuba & No Bother!"), and showing off her surprising swimming skills at the pool ("Yotsuba & Pools!"), among other things. It is hard to describe how endearing she is, and how wonderfully Azuma depicts the relationship between Yotsuba and her father - as well as her friendship with the next-door neighbors. I haven't laughed so much reading comics since the days of and The Far Side and Calvin and Hobbes. I love the way these volumes are structured, with the various episodic stories coming together to form the larger whole of each book.
This manga series would be an excellent choice for younger children who love graphic novels but who aren't yet ready for more mature themes and plotlines of most manga series (at least most of the ones at my library), which seem to be geared more toward teens and adults. Yet the characterization and humor are sophisticated enough to be appreciated by readers of any age.
This book counts as my first manga read for Rhinoa's Manga Challenge. If you're thinking of joining the challenge and don't know where to start, try this series. It is sure to make you laugh!
Books reviewed in the Yotsuba&! series so far:
Yotsuba&!, Volume 2 by Kiyohiko Azuma (ADV Manga, 2005)
Also reviewed at:
Warren Peace: "I must be turning into a softie in my old, old age (29), because I, like the rest of the internet, have fallen head over heels for this cute little girl and her gang of followers. Whodathunkit?"
B&OT review of Yotsuba&! Vol. 1