One of the questions I am often asked (that I find very difficult to answer) is - what is your favourite book? I have so many. Likewise who is your favourite author or illustrator? Another almost impossible question, however, I do have a number of favourite illustrators and one is Satoshi Kitamura. I met a book collector at the IBBY Congress. Her whole focus was Christmas books. I admire this singular purpose and it made me consider who or what would I collect? I think Satoshi Kitamura could fit the bill.
At the Congress I bought an older book from this master illustrator. Ned and the Joybaloo was first published in 1983. I discovered Satoshi Kitamura many years ago through his book What’s Inside : The alphabet book.
I could say Ned and the Joybaloo book has a deep philosophical meaning but really I think it is best read as a simple romp of the imagination. Ned finds every day routines boring until he discovers the Joybaloo, a friendly creature with “a funny leathery nose and .. breath full of paper roses.” The Joybaloo takes Ned on wild adventures each Friday but Ned wants more. He wants every night to be like Friday night. His life on other days becomes a misery. The Joybaloo warns he will get “used up” if he plays every night but Ned does not heed this warning. There are lessons to be learned (in a gentle way) and some growing up and self discovery to be undertaken.
Ned and the Joybaloo is a good follow up to two earlier books by the team of Satoshi Kitamura and Hiawyn Oram – Angry Arthur and In the Attic. Read these then re visit Where the Wild things are which was an inspiration for this book. Here is a review if you need more information. One small confession in conclusion. I did think Hiawyn Oram was a man. Now I discover she comes from South Africa and now lives in UK. We have lots of books by Hiawyn Oram in our school library along with many books illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura. You should seek their books out today. You will not be disappointed.