2009 Hawaii Public Library Challenge

As a part of our Hawaii Public Library Challenge Tour, we ask each librarian for one book recommendation for us to read and review.  For Diane Masaki from Aiea Library, we talked about a number of books, but she told us her favorite book to read was The Musubi Man because she “can work the Pidgin” in the book.  We posted about The Musubi Man back in August for our 8 books in 8 hours Rec-Fest, however I wanted to honor her choice by finishing up the series and reviewing the two sequels that were spawned from its initial success.

The Musubi Man's New Friend

Sandi Takayama and Pat Hall return in a new book entitled, The Musubi Man’s New Friend.  The second tale starts off where we last saw the musubi man, hanging out with his friend the surfer.  The surfer crafts a mini-surfboard for the musubi man and he recreates the basic theme of the last book (and The Gingerbread Man) and out-races all the creatures of the sea.  But, the musubi man—much like the reader—is tired of this premise as it’s been done.  To cheer him up, the surfer and his auntie end up making the Musubi Man a new friend, but because no umeboshi heart exists, they use something else—something that might make this new friend even faster!  What special ingredient do they use?  I’ll leave that to you to find out.


In the third installment of the series, The Musubi Baby, Sandi Takayama and Pat Hall add another cute character into the growing family.  Conceding to his new friend, she and the musubi man agree to always run together, get married, and create their own musubi child.  Unlike the musubi adults, the musubi baby does not have an initial talent for running very fast.  You basically watch as the family goes to different places, slowly teaching the musubi baby to follow in their footsteps by learning how to run.  I thought the end of the book was a funny scenario in how the musubi baby eventually earns his legs.

The Musubi series (or Chronicles as I like to call it), is a cute collection of books aimed at children in the first grade and ages 6-7 years old.  The artwork is colorful and lively, although I think Pat Hall’s best work in the series was in the original book, with each successive book being a bit lesser in quality.  If I had to recommend one, it would be the original, although The Musubi Baby has a lot of great themes centered around family, which is great to encourage spending time with your children.  The second book seemed a bit too similar to the first one, despite the musubi man’s own acknowledgment of the retread.  Some other fun aspects about the series is the Pidgin dialogue and the glossary in the back of local terms used that might not be familiar to those who weren’t raised in Hawaii.  There is even a bonus recipe in The Musubi Baby for making your very own musubi (onigiri)!

The Musubi Man’s New Friend
By Sandi Takayama
Illustrated by Pat Hall
Bess Press, 2002
24 pages

The Musubi Baby
By Sandi Takayama
Illustrated by Pat Hall
Bess Press, 2007
26 pages