Origami heart by Binny

cover image

Lothian Children's Books, 2016. ISBN 9780734416971
(Ages: 5-8) Recommended. Friendship. Loneliness. Love. Kabuki is a rabbit living in the middle of a big, busy city who likes everything to be neat and organised. He wears his heart on his sleeve (he literally wears a heart badge on his chest) and puts love into everything he does. He has only one friend, named Yoko, and today she is coming to visit. Kabuki dresses carefully, finds the perfect food and flowers for his guest, prepares all the vegetables into exact heart shapes, organises the house just so, and waits... When he gets a note from Yoko saying she is sorry, his eyes fill with tears; he takes his heart patch from his chest, folds it into a paper plane and throws it into the city. Yoko catches Kabuki's heart, and understanding his need for her, goes to him.
The illustrations have a distinctly Japanese feel and use a limited colour palette, with red (love) being the main colour. You really feel Kabuki's excitement as he prepares for Yoko's arrival and his sheer dejection when he receives her note. Yoko shows what it means to be a true friend - to come when you are needed most, and the Kabuki gives the reader a true understanding of what it means to be lonely. The illustrations help in this sense, as his world without Yoko is lifeless and colourless. It is not until she arrives that the colour returns. The front and back inside covers have instructions for making the origami heart (difficult but achievable for the top tier of the target audience) that comes with the book and for transforming it into a paper plane.
Nicole Nelson