Welcome to Mamoko

Title: Welcome to Mamoko
Author: Aleksandra Mizielińska and Daniel Mizieliński | Illustrator: Aleksandra Mizielińska and Daniel Mizieliński | Publisher: Big Picture Press | Date of Publication: 2013 | ISBN: 978-0-7636-6891-4 | Number of pages: 16 | Grade Level: Kindergarten-3 | Literary Trends: Science Fiction, Novels in Cartoons, Spotlight on Diversity

Mizieliński, A. & Mizieliński, D. (2013). Welcome to Mamoko. Somerville, MA: Big Picture Press.

        Aleksandra Mizielińska and Daniel Mizieliński authors of Welcome to Mamoko challenge readers to “Use Your Eyes!” on the cover of this fantastic wordless picture book.  Although there is some text on the opening ‘end paper’ of the picture book, readers will likely start decoding the images as their eyes wander about the meticulously detailed illustrations of Mamoko.  Each page paints a picture of daily life in this animal run city and beautiful moments can be found all about.  A chicken taking its chick for a stroll, two cats moving into a new apartment, an alligator having coffee on his balcony and a giraffe that is late for work, introduce readers to another storyline in this imaginary land.  As the day progresses, readers are transported to the city park, town square, commercial district, promenade, and the arts district, in a slice of life narrative.  Without a real need for introduction, the characters that make up Mamoko, go about their day and offer clues to an overall larger story of the town.  From a child’s perspective, this might be similar to how they view their world up to a certain point and reading this book will reflect or remind readers of any age, to a time in their life when things just happened and they were left to bear witness to the wonders of society.

        Welcome to Mamoko seems innocuous enough, the goings on are nothing out of the ordinary, yet still wondrous, however towards the end, readers may spot a few clues of a “suspicious” activity and likely start to scan the book once again for more clues to the mystery.  As the “instructions” tell the readers, “Use your eyes and follow the adventures of each of these characters in every scene” there is in fact at least 24 reading options to this book and it is very likely that this title will be read time and again.

        Kirkus Review confronts the “undoubtable comparison to Candlewick’s Waldo series,” but places value in the Mizieliński’s revisiting of the “find and search theme.”  Unlike Waldo however, the Mamoko universe has a less manic graphical feel and the illustrations are not out to “trick” readers, rather they are more soothing and didactic, much to the agreement of Kirkus’s observation that Mamoko presents a world where the “creatures… encounter problems, help each other find solutions and exhibit a range of emotions.”  The Wall Street Journal echoes the sentiments that a young reader “can disappear unaided” into the world of Mamoko, and it is likely that the anthropomorphic Mamoko universe will be called upon often by children who are fortunate enough to encounter the title.

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