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Satomi Ichikawa,
My Father’s Shop
Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2004. 

Ages 4-6 

Mustafa loves the beautiful carpets in his father’s Moroccan shop.  “They come in all colors of the world.”  And his father knows how to speak to the tourists when they come into the shop: “Bienvenue, hermoso, good price” are some of the things he says.  One day Mustafa finds a hole in the center of a very beautiful carpet.  His disappointed father agrees to give Mustafa the carpet if he will learn some foreign languages.  Mustafa is thrilled, but it soon becomes obvious that he would rather be playing with his carpet than sitting through a lesson.  He runs to the market to show the carpet to his friends. At the market he picks up some unexpected new skills, a new and unusual friend, and brings many new customers back to his father’s shop.

 The illustrator and sometimes author of more than 20 children’s picture books including Grandpa’s Soup and Nora’s Stars, Satomi Ichikawa’s vivid illustrations for My Father’s Shop are a feast for the eyes, celebrating the joy of childhood with detail, nuance, and rich colors.  From the lush carpets in his father’s shop to the items for sale at the market, the pictures come alive on the page.  This story of cross-cultural exchange from a Japanese writer who has lived her adult life as an expatriate in Paris has been recognized with an ASA Children’s Africana Book Award and was listed on the Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year and the USBBY Outstanding International Booklist.

 My Father’s Shop  is a lighthearted and richly illustrated story which celebrates friendship - old and new - and the delightful possibilities that come from sharing culture and language.  The spirited Mustafa is a loveable character who shows readers that having fun can be productive and educational.

 Abigail Sawyer
June 2009





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