Review by Jolie Cotton The Honolulu Advertiser December 8 2002
The Musubi Man is back in a charming new adventure thats sure to become a local classic. In author Sandi Takayamas Musubi Man sequel the tasty ball of rice masters the art of surfing. From the littlest fish to the great whales ono-looking Musubi Man taunts the ocean critters: Swim swim as fast as you can! You no can catch me. Im one musubi man!
With his surfboard Musubi Man out-races all the hungry sea creatures. When he tires of the game a surfing buddy decided to cheer Musubi up by making for him a new friend.
He gave her limu hair and a little nori outfit two takuan eyes an ebi nose and a smiling mouth of ginger. But when he reached into the ume jar he could not find an umeboshi in the shape of a heart. He searched jar after jar of umeboshi.
The surfers auntie helps solve the problem of the missing heart which triggers a surprising new twist to the familiar tale.
Pat Halls cheery illustrations add to the satisfying story which actually made me laugh out loud. Rare to find a sequel thats as good as the original but here you have it.
Sandi Takayamas first picture book The Musubi Man: Hawaii's Gingerbread Man sold 25000 copies. Earlier this year Takayamas original Gingerbread Man retelling was adapted for a Honolulu Theatre for Youths production that successfully played to Island preschools and McCoy Pavilion audiences.
Review by Leslie Mieko Yap Hawaii Westways April 1 2003
In the classic tale of the Gingerbread Man the cookie makes a run for it but ultimately gets eaten by a fox. The cookies fate never quite sat well with Sandi Takayma a school librarian in Kapolei Oahu. I liked the story but always wanted to write one with a more happy ending she says. That ambition resulted in her first childrens book in 1996 The Musubi Man: Hawaii's Gingerbread Man in which one feisty ball of rice runs as fast as he can and doesnt get caught!
Now fans of Takayamas first book can enjoy a sequel: The Musubi Mans New Friend. In this 24 page book illustrated by Pat Hall the musubi man surfs all day dodging hungry sea creatures but he eventually gets bored. Then one day he makes a new friend and that leads to another fast-paced adventure.
Why did it take Takayama so long to write part two? I had trouble because in the first book I said no one would ever be able to find another umeboshi -Japanese plum- heart she explains. And its the heart that makes the musubi come alive. The author finally came up with a solution: The friend gets a heart made of Spam.
Review by Emily Viglielmo West Oahu Current December 1 2002
As the librarian at Barbers Point Elementary School it is Sandi Takayamas job to help children find good books to read. She took her job one step further however and decided to write a story herself.
Takayamas first book The Gingerbread Man was published by The Bess Press in 1996.
I had been writing for the mainland market but I wasnt getting anywhere Takayama said. A friend suggested I try the regional market. I had always wanted to do the gingerbread man with a happy ending.
The Musubi Man was so successful that Bess Press asked her to write a sequel which was published this year. The Musubi Mans New Friend follows the adventures of the musubi man as he meets a surfer and learns to ride waves.
I didnt know too much about surfing Takayama said. Someone else who knew about surfing had to look it over.
Along the way the musubi man makes friends with a honu -turtle- and a koela bird. He still feels lonely however so the surfer decided to make a female musubi friend for him.
Takayama uses some pidgin terms throughout the text to give the work a true local flavor.
Shes wonderful said Arlene Ching Mililani Public Library childrens librarian.
I like the book. Its very popular with children because its a local version of the gingerbread man.
Ching was Hawaii's Librarian of the Year in 2001.
A childrens librarian who writes childrens book is a natural fit Ching said. She knows a lot of stories.
Publisher Benjamin Bess said Sandi is one of our favorite authors. Shes a great articulate spokesperson for writers educators and parents. Her books are cute.
She has a touch and feel for what kids like to have read to them Bess said.
The Musubi Man sold 15000 copies and Bess said he expects the sequel to be as successful.
I feel fortunate that my writing is for fun Takayama said. I dont have to do it for a living.
She has three children. They know when Im working on things she said. I wait until I have a finished project and then I read it to them.
The latest book is illustrated by Pat Hall. According to Bess Press Hall has been a respected artist in Hawaii since 1963.
Takayamas work also was produced as a play.
Honolulu Theatre for Youth recently toured local libraries with the production including Wahiawa Public Library.