Absolute Beginners Book Club // Currently reading: Prefecture Stories ・ Next: Hunter × Hunter

Hi all,

some time ago, I’ve nominated a book in the Beginner Book Club, but it doesn’t seem to be very popular there, plus it is really easy, and so I figured that maybe you guys would be interested in reading it here? (Note: I won’t be running the book here if it gets picked, but I’m sure you will find somebody who can take over.)

こぐまのクーク物語 春と夏 - Kuuku the Bear Cub’s Story, Spring and Summer

Summary (Japanese from Amazon, English is my own translation)

クークは、動物たちと、ゆたかな自然の中、いきいきと育っていきます。そして、クークの家は森のキッチンというレストラン、父さん母さんがおいしい料理をつくってくれます。八つの感動物語。料理レシピつき。

Kuuku and his animal friends grow up among lush nature. Kukki’s parents run a restaurant called “Forest’s Kitchen” where they prepare delicious meals. 8 emotionally moving stories. Recipes are included.

Availability

Amazon
Bookwalker

Personal Opinion

I have not read the book yet, but I noticed it on FloFlo because it has very few different words. It seems to be a cute children’s story. From peeking into it, I like the artwork as well.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Vocab list on FloFlo
  • Only 1230 different words according to FloFlo
  • It’s actually a book for very small children, so the language is easy, and the sentences are short.
  • 8 stories that are each 20 pages or less, and each page contains very little text only (see screenshots).
  • It seems to be a series, so we can continue with the next book(s) if people are interested.

Cons

  • Don’t rely too much on FloFlo’s word list as it may have misparses, e.g. it did not seem to be able to parse こぐま (bear cub)
  • As expected for a children’s book, there are not too many kanji.
  • The story is probably not too deep :wink:

Pictures

First Three Pages of Chapter One



Additional Pages



Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Just right
  • Challenging
  • Impossible, even with everyone’s help
  • I don’t know (please click this if you’re not voting seriously)

0 voters

9 Likes

Wow, thank you for your willingness to run the book’s club! Appreciated :slight_smile:

1 Like

In case we do a poll and it wins and @_Marcus you can’t find the time yet to run the club, I’d be willing to do it. It looks like a cute and fun read and I already have it in my cart… probably going to buy it soon whether or not it gets picked by the ABBC because it’s on sale right now (the other books of that series too as it seems).

6 Likes

:eyes: :eyes:

1 Like

Someone has now started a book club for this one.

5 Likes

I just clicked on this manga because I thought it was the old man and a cat one. But turns out it’s a different manga but it looks cute, too! It’s called Oji-san loves cute things (おじさんはカワイイものがお好き)

and is about

a guy who’s 40 years old, an attractive office worker, admired by his colleagues but he has a secret: He is trying to hide from everyone that he loves cute things. But with his son going to his apartment, his secret is now in danger…

I’m thinking of nominating it! But I’m not sure if I should nominate it here or in the beginner book club. :thinking: It has mostly furigana and is not too text dense - not like furuba I’d say but definetly more text than big brother rental.

The first volume can be read for free at the moment on booklive.

6 Likes

I see what you mean. Definitely on the challenging side compared to previous ABBC picks. Particularly compared to what we are reading now.

1 Like

So I guess I take this one out of the nomination list then. It’s a shame as it looked a decent ABBC type read, although we’ve had it in our nomination list for sometime now without actually reading it.

4 Likes

Well, the ABBC’s always been less heavily reliant on polls than the other clubs anyway.

1 Like

Yes, and vocab wise it isn’t as easy, too, I think. Definetly more on the challening side but not much harder than the other manga proposals like Wanted or Dragon Ball I’d say. I think I will nominate it in the Beginner Book Club and not here, though.

1 Like

Okay, my copy has just arrived and my first reaction was one of disappointment. Looking at it online, the book looks great, but in real life, it is really small! I know there are terms for the sizes, but I don’t know them. It is smaller than Yotsuba for example, and exactly the same size as a Doraemon. And the font is small too of course (well, at least for my old eyes).

I clicked on “challenging” in the poll when I looked online, but now it is in my hands I would click on “very challenging” if that were an option. I’m more used to reading (a) easy manga and (b) easy books with much bigger typefaces, fewer words per page, and - dare I say it - a little more kanji. This would be quite a challenge.

However, it does look good. It’s a book I’d like to read. My worry is that I couldn’t read this at any pace faster than a page a day, and there are over 150 pages.

1 Like

I just checked the ebook. After reading your post, I was worried it’s only images and furigana as hard to read as in Furuba. But it’s not like that. It’s text that can be zoomed in and highlighted, only occasional illustrations are images.

screenshots

Text

Illustration

Illustration + Text

2 Likes

Yes, it’s my paper copy that arrived today! I don’t have an e-reader. But glad to hear the e-version is good!

So what book is currently going on right now? :sweat_smile:

Big Brother Rental :slight_smile: (just so you know, it’s written in the title and the first post of this thread)

5 Likes

It’s not too late to jump into reading レンタルおにいちゃん, by the way! We’re still on chapter one, and the first few chapters are freely available from the author’s Pixiv site.

6 Likes

I’ve been reading こぐまのクーク物語 春と夏,
And it’s really good practice as it’s mostly short sentences.

I’m on chapter 5 rn (夏 chapters), and it’s a pretty cute story, but since it’s targeted to kids, lots of words do not use kanji, which can be a headache at times haha.

Still, I would recommend it :slight_smile:!

5 Likes

「日本の昔ばなし」 単行本 第一巻 一寸法師編 - Folktales from Japan Volume 1 - Issun-Boshi and other stories

Screen Shot 2020-08-29 at 10.34.24

Summary

eEHON コミックス (e-Picture Book Comics) is a label that produces a number of colourful children’s books in (as far as I can see) an ebook only format. This volume collects six stories together in a full colour illustrated book. It was first published in 2014 and there are about 12 other volumes produced since.

“Issun-boshi” (The Inch-High Samurai) is a boy who is full of courage even if he is born small. On a boat made of a rice-bowl, using a chopstick paddle, he goes to the capital Kyoto on a journey of training for warriors. There, Issun-boshi tries to be brave as he encounters a terrifying demon.

The other stories in the book are: “The Man Who Bought a Dream”, “The Rat Sutra”, “The Transforming Hood”, “The Love Potion”, and “The Village of the Nightingales”.

Summary in Japanese

『一寸法師』一寸法師は、小さく生まれても、全身に勇気のみなぎる男の子。お椀の舟に箸の櫂で京の都へ武者修行の旅へ出る。そこで、恐ろしい鬼と遭遇した一寸法師は勇気を試される。『夢を買った男』旅の商人は、相棒の見た大判小判の夢を、大金はたいて譲ってもらう、果たして夢はかなうのか…。『ねずみ経』旅のお坊さんを泊めた、一人暮らしのお婆さん。お坊さんにお経を教えてもらうことに、やがて、旅の坊さんが、盗人になって…。『八つ化け頭巾』貧乏寺の和尚さん。ある時、村人を困らせている化け狐と出会うが、とんちで、化け頭巾を手に入れてしまう…。『惚れ薬』ほれ薬を使って、何とか米問屋の娘の気を引こうとするが、苦労してこしらえた、ほれ薬を使おうとすると…。『うぐいすの里』いつもの山で道に迷ったきこりは、見たこともない大きな屋敷で美しい女に出逢い襖の向こうの怪しい世界に迷い込む…。※本電子書籍は個別販売中の作品を収録したセレクション版です。

Availability

BookLive! : BOOK☆WALKER : eBookJapan : Kindle

There is an associated animated series on Crunchyroll as described in this Wikipedia Article.

No physical version available that I can see (which is presumably why the label is called e-Picture Books).

Personal Opinion

We’ve had a couple of suggestions of fairytales/folk tales for the club. One is a collection of 16 books that is difficult to get hold of as a set now, and the other is a website with lots of free stories available.

What I like about this collection is that it’s a complete standalone book ( 単行本) that you can tick off on your list of books read, is illustrated in full colour throughout, and it’s not text dense so very approachable for beginners.

In addition, the script of the animated version seems to largely match the book version, so you can practise your listening skills as well. I’m not familiar with using Crunchyroll but I was able to start watching the episode for free (with adverts).

It’s 400 pages long - but as you can see from the text density, it’s the right length for a bookclub pick.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Very approachable language level for absolute beginners
  • Full colour illustrations
  • Traditional Japanese Folktales
  • Animation with largely similar script for listening practise
  • Available on a number of ebook sites
  • There are lots more volumes available if people want to carry on reading

Cons

  • There is no physical copy, so you won’t be able to display it proudly on your bookshelf
  • No kanji

Pictures

Table of Contents

Screen Shot 2020-08-29 at 10.38.34

First Three Pages of Chapter One

Screen Shot 2020-08-29 at 10.38.47

Screen Shot 2020-08-29 at 10.38.58

Screen Shot 2020-08-29 at 10.39.05

Additional Pages

Screen Shot 2020-08-29 at 10.39.16

Screen Shot 2020-08-29 at 10.39.33

Screen Shot 2020-08-29 at 10.39.50

Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Just right
  • Challenging
  • Impossible, even with everyone’s help
  • I don’t know (please click this if you’re not voting seriously)

0 voters

5 Likes

I’d like to second the nomination about the bear cub named Kuuku. I know it’s not necessary, but it seems cute!

2 Likes

I’m guessing that will be popular! Will get the poll up later. :bear:

2 Likes