On Vacation with Tūtū (Mutual Publishing, 2011) by Lynne Wikoff is a new keiki book about a bunch of energetic children who think that vacation with Tūtū will be a breeze–just wild fun and games with no parents around to tell them what to do.

The children were used to giving their parents a hard time and resisting authority, so when they told Tūtū they liked being dirty, Tūtū smiled  and said they didn’t have to bathe for the whole vacation. When they didn’t want to sleep, Tūtū  said they could stay up as late as they wanted. As the story goes on and the children don’t do as their told, Tūtū just smiles and pretty soon the fun vacation isn’t so great.

This is a very sweet book. The funny story and colorful pictures are perfect for those sly little buggers who try to get the upper hand on you. The kids I read it with were intrigued at the prospect of never having to go to bed early. They laughed at the pictures of the kids with dirty faces who didn’t have to take a bath. I was almost afraid it would give them ideas. But just as Tūtū’s bird says in the story, “Tūtū knows best” and the kids realize, along with the kids in the book, that it’s not so great being dirty and sleepy all the time.

Lynne Wikoff is an established children’s book writer and this is her third keiki book. She’s really taken something most kids and parents can relate to and transformed it into an interesting lesson on being careful what you wish for. Sneaky Tūtū knows just what to do! I love it.

This book is wonderfully illustrated by Tammy Yee, one of Hawai‘i’s most well-known and loved artists. Yee has a talent for capturing the vibrance of Hawai‘i and its people in her books and paintings. In On Vacation with Tūtū I especially love the way she drew Tūtū, with her hair in a bun, wearing her shorty muumuu and brown sandals. It reminded me of my own Tūtū, especially the sandals. I think there should be more books like this one that focus on our keiki and our kupuna together.

If you’ve never been to Tammy’s website we encourage you to visit. She has a lot of great stuff! There’s activities and origami for the kids, news on books and literary events, and even tips and info for aspiring children’s book authors and illustrators.