Book of the Week: Oh What A Busy Day

April 19, 2007

I love the artwork of Gyo Fujikawa. She’s illustrated/authored over 40 children’s books — a Mother Goose Collection, a Poetry Collections, a Fable Collection, and on and on — and each one looks so
comfortable and familiar to me. I assume this is because much of her work was originally published when I was a child.

Two things I especially love about her work: She was a real pioneer of multicultural children’s books, showing children from lots of backgrounds interacting together long before it was politically correct. And her illustrations typically feature many tiny things to discover, which is something that my children seem to love.

If you do a search on Amazon, you’ll see that most of her work is out-of-print, but still available from smaller booksellers. I found this copy of Oh What a Busy Day on an Ebay search.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Blue House Mom April 19, 2007 at 7:58 am

A great author & illustrator! I remember a Mother Goose book.


2 love.boxes April 19, 2007 at 8:28 am

That was one of my favorite books as a kid. I love how many bright and happy things are going on.. on each page. A really great book!


3 Mandee April 19, 2007 at 10:42 am

Yes, I think I had the Mother Goose book, too. Thanks for reminding me. I’ll add that to my “shopping” list.


4 Shauna April 19, 2007 at 10:51 am

Love the Mother Goose book and have been searching for a copy in better condition than mine. With my now grown and gone children, we read it almost every day. I loved that each rhyme had a picture to match. My very used copy made it through another generation of little ones, barely.


5 Queen Scarlett April 19, 2007 at 12:44 pm

Thanks for introducing me to these books… they’re beautiful.


6 Megan S. April 19, 2007 at 1:36 pm

Love these books and had them as a kid. Gyo is actually a man. I was very surprised to find it out because the illustrations seem to have a feminine softness to them.


7 Design Mom April 19, 2007 at 2:28 pm

That is so funny, Megan. I also think Gyo is a male. In fact, when I started writing this post, I referred to Gyo as a he.

And then I googled the name trying to get more information on publishing dates, and the American Library Association had an article definitely referring Gyo as a she.

And since I already had an image of what I thought Gyo looked like in my head, I was sort of irritated at the new information. But I figured the ALA knew better than me.

Why did I think she was a he in the first place?


8 shetha April 19, 2007 at 3:39 pm

I *love* Gyo Fujikawa’s books too! I have one that I grew up with – it’s an ABCs book. It has some amazing images throughout but sadly it’s not in the best shape (this is my fault – I thought the Black and White pages were for coloring when I was a little one). I find some of her stuff still at a favorite local bookshop: Powells Books. Thanks for reminding me to check there for some more!


9 Annie April 19, 2007 at 7:47 pm

I remember these (including one about babies) from my own childhood as well as reading them to my young kids (now 8, 11, 13). Thanks for the memory refresher…I love all the individual little expressions and busyness on each page. Much to be discovered.


10 Julie April 19, 2007 at 10:06 pm

Oh, I love this book. I have the one I grew up with. It is a part of me – child me & mom me!


11 Megan S. April 20, 2007 at 8:10 am

I just looked at the article – very interesting. I was talking to my aunt once and she said, “your mom met him once,” and then I said, “Gyo is a man??” I also remember having the discussion at book club and Linda Inouye confirming that it’s a man. Very interesting – must do more research. Possibly ahead of his/her time in more ways than one!


12 Megan S. April 20, 2007 at 9:14 am

the plot thickens – I just read a biblio on and in the same paragraph they use both “his” and “she” referring to Gyo. Hmm.


13 KatieJ April 21, 2007 at 1:12 am

This was a favorite book of mine as a child and my 3 year old rediscovered it for me at Grandma’s a few months ago- I still feel happy looking through that book- except the page with the Babes in the Woods, which makes me sad.


14 Anonymous April 28, 2007 at 7:45 pm

hi check out m blog sometime.


15 Anonymous February 10, 2008 at 10:11 pm

This was my absolute favourite book as a kid, and I still own my original copy, published in 1978 and given to me that same year by my grandma for my 2nd birthday — I could read it again and again and never tire of it. The pictures never fail to fill me with a sort of haunting nostalgia. A great comfort. I’m so glad you mentioned it!


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