Children's author

Stories from Around the World – Japan

Stories from Around the World – Japan



The Funny Little Woman



Written by Arlene Mosel, Illustrated by Blair Lent

Published by Turtleback Books

Age: 5-8

Set in: Japan

Synopsis: While chasing a dumpling, a little lady is captured by wicked creatures from whom she escapes with the magic for becoming the richest woman in Japan.



It’s hard not to fall in love with the main character – a jolly little lady, who spends her time making rice dumplings and laughing in the face of danger. Although some parts of the story can be a little bit scary for a young and more sensitive audience, the tone of the story is light and funny. The Japanese elements are present throughout the book, from blossom cherry trees, to the traditional wooden houses. The reference to Jizos, and Onis introduces the children to Japanese folklore.

What we liked about this book:

  • The spunky old lady, an unusual character in children’s picture book. But it really works
  • The images, in the distinctive style of Japanese art
  • The light, funny tone of the story. It’s a joy to read
  • The happy ending


Our favourite quote:

‘“Ungrateful dumpling,” scolded the little woman, as she knelt and reached for it. But jest then the earth gave way, and head over heels she tumbled and tumbled.’




Here are some ideas of activities and crafts about Japan:



Play traditional Japanese Games (




Make Cherry Blossom Art from a Recycled Plastic Bottle (Alpha Mom)






Make Cotton Ball Sushi Crafts (pink and greenmama)




6 Fun Origami Projects (






About me: 

I’m a children’s books author based in the U.K. with a great passion for multilingualism and multiculturalism. My first book, “A Fish in Foreign Waters – a Book For Bilingual Children” is sold worldwide and has won bronze at the Wishing Shelf Book Awards. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook!








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