America’s got Magic Treehouse. (And actually, Japan has it, too. It’s been translated and is quite popular with the younger crowd here.)
Japan’s got Kaiketsu Zorori!
See those books on the bottom right? And the sign above it? The sign says, “Kaiketsu Zorori books are located here.” Because dang it, they are so very gosh darn popular.
Years ago, I had a brush with literary fame. I almost met Kaiketsu Zorori’s author.
Let me tell you about it: We had JUST moved to Fukushima City, and my son was about three and very rascally. We were at the children’s museum/library building and I noticed a long line of mothers with their kids. I asked “Who or what is going on?” I was told that Mr. Kaiketsu Zorori’s Author himself (also known as Hara Yutaka 原ゆたか) was there and WE COULD MEET HIM!!!!!
If this happened now, I would wait in the line. Back then, though, I thought, “Who? I have no idea who that is. These people say this book is incredibly famous, but I have never heard of it, so it must not be important.”
In my defense, I was tired and my son was three and there was a very long line.
So I missed my chance. Life is full of missed opportunities, and we mustn’t dwell on them. I am moving on.
I checked out the first book in the seemingly endless series and tried to read it but I gave up. It really bored me. It was obviously meant for seven year olds.
It’s written in hiragana, so really young children can read it. But I noticed that the vocabulary was quite advanced. I kept looking up words. The lack of kanji was really annoying me. It’s hard to read when there is absolutely no kanji. (Believe it or not! LOL)
A Kaiketsu Zorori movie is coming out in Japan in September. Exciting! Americans, you may have to wait a very long time for this movie to come to your local theater. A very, very, VERY long time!
And in other news, I just downloaded the German book “Slovenly Betsy” on my kindle. It’s public domain, therefore free. ZERO YEN!!!! Here it is with illustrations on project gutenberg, which I may do instead because it has got those awfully lovely illustrations: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19915/19915-h/19915-h.htm (And when I saw awful, I mean AWFUL!!!! Decapitated limbs, bees attacking a girl’s face. The good old days when we didn’t worry about FEELINGS and whatnot. LOL)
Here is a similar book on Gutenberg, Struwwelpeter. It has illustrations: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/12116/12116-h/12116-h.htm (Gory, gory. A boy on fire. Getting one’s finger cut off with scissors! Why don’t they make children’s books like THIS anymore.)
You can even read Peter Rabbit on Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/14838/14838-h/14838-h.htm (Ah, we can relax now. This is sweet and gentle. WAIT!! RUNNNN, PETER!!!!!!!! MacGregor is going to make you into a pie just like your dad!!!!!! RUNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!)
Here is the list of picture books on Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Children%27s_Picture_Books_(Bookshelf)
I also downloaded the Swedish book “The Wonderful Adventure of Nils” for free. Here it is on Project Gutenberg, http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10935/pg10935-images.html However I will do the kindle version since the gutenberg has no illustrations anyway.