A song becomes a book

JELLYFISH

By Lesli Takasugi (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2018, 48 pp., $15.99, paperback)

“Jellyfish” was originally a song written and performed by Lesli Takasugi, an artist, songwriter and teacher. When her daughter Mukti was born, it inspired her to turn the song into a book. Just inside the front cover, the book begins with beautiful artwork created by her young daughter.

Rather than having a linear narrative like most children’s books, “Jellyfish” sticks to its roots and is a lyrical description of a young girl’s expansive imagination. When she is 5, she says things like “a slice of moon could fall on her plate” and “the seeds of a watermelon could grow deep inside the belly when you swallow every one whole.” I’ve heard many a kindergarten student say just the same thing about eating apple and watermelon seeds.

The collage artwork is whimsical and colorful. Lesli Takasugi draws a girl with such expressive eyes. You really get a glimpse into what she is thinking and feeling. Even though she’s called “Little Mary,” she names herself “Jellyfish.” Jellyfish is a spirited girl who reminds us of the beauty of the sun rising and the magic of the moonlight.

An added bonus to the book is that readers can also download “Jellyfish, the Song.” It’s another way to experience this very unique book.

There is one portion of the book that children might bring up and families might want to discuss with their child. In one of the lines, Jellyfish mentions a friend who is a little boy whom she fought and gave a black eye. The boy’s folks tell him to stay away from Jellyfish, but he goes to her anyway. Sometimes when I’m reading a story to students, we stop when characters make bad decisions and we try to think of better ways than fighting to solve the problem.

Enjoy “Jellyfish”!

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