Yotsuba, the irrepressible little green-haired girl, has further everyday adventures in this third installment in her series. Everything is new to her - she's never lived in a city before, never had neighbors, never seen a fireworks show, never even ridden on the bus. It is fun to see the world through her eyes - and funny, too, because she takes everything at face value, very literally. She is sweet and kind, thoughtless and impulsive, and her relationship with her father never fails to make me smile.
In this volume Yotsuba visits the zoo for the first time ever and is astonished by everything she sees. I particularly enjoyed the scene where the owl stares at her with its enormous eyes, and she stares back at it. When she runs around to the other side of the cage, and its head swivels so it can keep looking at her, Yotsuba gets a bit freaked and is suddenly huddled behind her father.
We discover more about Yotsuba's father's good friend, Jumbo. He is very big and seems like a strong, tough guy, so Yotsuba is surprised to find out that he is a florist. He is too nervous to invite Asagi, Yotsuba's pretty neighbor along on a trip to see a fireworks show - and he makes Yotsuba do it. It's fun to watch as he ends up having to kowtow to Yotsuba and her two young friends, instead of Asagi, after there is a misunderstanding with Yotsuba (he still hasn't learned that she is very literal, so when she tells him Asagi is coming, it doesn't necessarily mean she she's coming with them).
This series continues to be delightful, funny, and full of surprises. Yotsuba's sense of wonder is a joy to witness, as she experiences ordinary things that are extraordinary to her. She makes everyone around her see the world through new eyes, and she leave smiles behind her wherever she goes - along with quite a few puzzled looks. This is an appropriate series (at least the three volumes I've read so far) for those younger readers who want to try some manga. My fourth grader loves it, and my second grader is going to give it a try, too. There are five volumes that have been translated into English and published in the U.S. so far, and the sixth one is due to be released on April 9.
Books reviewed in the Yotsuba&! series so far:
Yotsuba&!, Volume 3 by Kiyohiko Azuma (ADV Manga, 2004)
Also reviewed at:
BasuGasuBakuHatsu Anime Blog: "I really love this manga. It’s probably still my favorite comedy manga of all time. It’s just wonderfully cute, weird and enjoyable to read."