Mai and the Missing Melon

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Pub Date 24 Oct 2023 | Archive Date 07 Nov 2023

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An exploration of Japanese food, culture, and history that celebrates the special relationship between a child, her grandmother, and the power of kindness, for kids 3-7, by the author of Japanese Home Cooking, Sonoko Sakai.

This charming story invites the reader on a journey through rural 1960s Japan following a little girl named Mai on the Enoden train, past the oceanside populated with fishers, and to the classic shrine-like home of her grandmother, or obachama. 

Loosely based on an event in Sonoko’s childhood, Mai wishes to share the gift of a sweet muskmelon with her grandmother but loses it on the train along the way. Obachama shares the Japanese folktale of The Stone Buddhas as an example of the power of good intentions to cheer Mai up. 

After the story, Mai hears from the train station master that the melon has been found, and she and her obachama are able to enjoy the sweet muskmelon together.  

This sweet story explores the cherished relationship between a young girl and her grandmother–two great friends despite the age gap–while the expressive art takes the reader through the Japanese countryside, past the sea, bamboo forests, and temples, drawn from the author’s own childhood memories.
An exploration of Japanese food, culture, and history that celebrates the special relationship between a child, her grandmother, and the power of kindness, for kids 3-7, by the author of Japanese...

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EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781645471240
PRICE $18.95 (USD)

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Average rating from 22 members

Featured Reviews

This was an engaging story with a great message for young children. My four year old enjoyed the story and was very interested in Mai’s grandmother. My son has a very special relationship with his grandma, so for that reason I think he was especially drawn to this story. I enjoyed learning about melons in Japan. I definitely recommend this book to help teach young children about other cultures.

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Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for this delightful eARC. A sweet story of Mai, who receives a gift of a melon and wants to share with her beloved grandmother. This provides a beautiful look into Mai’s life in Japan, with a lovely message and gorgeous illustrations.

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Sweet tale of 9 year old Mai journeying solo to share a melon with her 75 year old grandmother. Peppered with facts about Japan (bento box) and the scenery caught while traveling (Mr. Fuji) and walking (ancient temples and buddhas), a rich story for any library collection looking to add to their AAPINH shelf.

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This is a lovely story about kindness, a melon, and a trip a little girl makes in Japan to visit her grandmother. She wants to share her a rare delectable treat with her grandmother, so she brings it on the train to see her. But she falls asleep and forget its on the train. In going back to retrieve it, her grandmother reminds her that, even if mistakes are made, giving kindness always brings kindness back to you.

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This children’s book is beautifully illustrated. It tells the story of Mai and how she lost her perfect melon on the way to see her grandmother. The book also includes a story within a story about six stone buddhas. Both stories introduce aspects of Japanese culture and folklore. I would recommend this heartwarming story.

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A very cute book with precious illustrations of nine year old Mai who visits her grandmother to share her muskmelon, a rare and expensive food item in Japan.

The story should interest the targeted age group, as the importance of family, in this instance, the grandmother, is the focus, as well as the kindness between the two in sharing the delicious fruit treat.

The illustrations more than make the book, along with the story. I enjoyed them just as much as the story itself.

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My name is Mai, so I had to request this, right?

This is a super cute, super short, beautifully illustrated book about a perfect melon that gets lost on the train when Mai decides to take it to her grandmother.

Don't be shocked she is taking the train by herself. In Japan, first graders walk to school by themselves. They wear yellow hats so other people can help them if they look lost or confused.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher.

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Mai and the Missing Melon is very much a sweet slice of life story about a girl who wants to share a treat with her grandmother. It is always nice to see a story the highlights the importance of family as well as doing good deeds for others. I think many people will find it interesting how something as common as a melon in the US is actually rare treat in other countries. I encourage readers to also take the time to read the author's note. As someone who loved going to my own grandmother's home and sharing watermelon as a treat, it was lovely to know that the story was based on the author's own experience.

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Mai and the Missing Melon is a sweet story about Mai, a young girl in Japan, who takes the train to visit her grandmother, her obachama, bringing a special melon for them to share. Mai falls asleep on the train and in her rush not to miss her stop, she forgets the melon! She and obachama go off in search of the melon. The author's note at the end explains that this story draws from her own childhood in Tokyo and how in Japan, melons are an expensive delicacy. This picturebook is on the longer side and would probably be better for older preschoolers/ younger elementary school aged children.

#MaiandtheMissingMelon #NetGalley

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Mai and the Missing Melon by Sonoko Sakai and illustrated by Keiko Brodleur. It is an endearing children's book that captures the heart with its lovely artwork and message of kindness and friendship. The beautifully illustrated pages bring the story to life, immersing the reader in a world filled with Japanese food and everyday life.

Sonoko Sakai's writing effortlessly weaves the essence of Japanese culture into the narrative, providing readers with glimpses into traditions and customs and traditional Japanese culinary practices.

This charming tale’s core is the relationship between Mai, a young girl, and her grandmother. Their bond is beautifully depicted, showing their deep connection and love. As Mai and her grandmother embark on a quest to find her missing melon, readers are taken on a delightful adventure, witnessing the duo's shared joy, and determination, and reflection as shown by how
Mai’s grandmother reassured Mai about the value of kindness by telling her a tale of The Six Stone Buddhas.

Overall, "Mai and the Missing Melon" is a delightful book. It reminds the reader and the child being read to of the power of connection and the joy that can be found in simple acts of love.

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This was a lovely picture book. There is a nice message- be kind and it will come back to you, but it didn’t feel preachy. The illustrations were done in a nice style that added a lot of value to the story. The relationship between the young girl and her grandmother is heartwarming, as is the included authors note at the end which gives context that adult readers would enjoy.

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So cute! A young girl goes to bring a melon to her grandmother, but forgets it on the train. While they wait and hope for it to be returned, the grandmother tells a Japanese folktale.

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"Mai and the Missing Melon" by Sonoko Sakai is a delightful and heartwarming tale that weaves together the bonds of family, the magic of storytelling, and the joy of shared traditions. When Mai’s mother shows her the delicious muskmelon a neighbor gave them, Mai suggests taking the melon to Obachama. The melon is carefully wrapped and Mai take it on the train to grandmother’s house. But the melon goes missing and Mai is heartbroken she can’t share the sweet succulent melon with her grandmother. Obachama soothes Mai and reminds her that it was the thought that counts and retells the Japanese folktale of The Stone Buddhas to reinforce the idea that Mai’s good intentions were all that matter. Alas, the train conductor locates the missing melon and Mai and her Obachama are able to share the special sweet treat together.

At the heart of the story is the endearing relationship between young Mai and her beloved grandmother. The author masterfully captures the special connection between generations, highlighting the wisdom, love, and cultural heritage and traditions that are passed down from one to another. Through their interactions, readers are reminded of the invaluable lessons that can only be learned from spending time with our elders, creating a touching and relatable experience.

The whimsical illustrations by Keiko Brodeur beautifully bring the story to life, capturing the warmth of the special family bond Mai and her Obachama share. "Mai and the Missing Melon" is a celebration of the power of family bonds that will resonate with readers young and old alike. There's a wonderful Author's note at the end that adds even more to this wonderful story.

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A lovely book that gives a glimpse of Japan! It's about a young girl Mai, who is going to her grandma's house to share a muskmelon with her. On the way there, she lost the melon. The illustration in this book is beautiful! The author does a great job describing and sharing aspects of Japanese culture, including the folktale of the stone Buddhas or the Jizo. Would recommend!!

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I loved everything about this one. The art. The story and finding out the story was based on truth. I loved my grandmother so much as well and times with her were so special.

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