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Tasty Baby Belly Buttons
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Tasty Baby Belly Buttons

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  95 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
According to legend, Japanese villagers once lived in fear of great hulking ogres called Onis who considered babies' belly buttons the tastiest of all treats. When they raided a village it was the babies they stole. In a delightful retelling of the folktale, Judy Sierra has added a feminist twist in the person of a fearless young heroine, determined to stop them. Little ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published May 18th 1999 by Random House Children's Books
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Oct 06, 2010 Amy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: girl-positive, 2-4, 3-5, 4-6
For maximum book enjoyment, read the Author's note First, even though it's at the end of the book. For people used to the Japanese folktale this telling is probably pretty ho-hum, but for those of us to whom it is new, it's like the brothers grim mated with gumby and had a baby girl. Kinda. I love it.
Jun 05, 2009 Laura rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
This regional variation on the classic Momotaro (Peach Boy) folktale is hands down my very favorite read-aloud book! The illustrations are lively, the text is polished, and children join in on the refrain with zest ("Belly buttons! Belly buttons! Tasty baby belly buttons!").
Mar 12, 2011 Tyra rated it really liked it
Good fun. Nice story with a little girl hero. Fun rhythm sounds too.
Currently on heavy rotation for bedtime reading.
May 19, 2010 Tracy rated it it was ok
This traditional folk tale from Japan features a miraculous birth, stupid villains and a doughty heroine. I have an interest in folklore, and Judy Sierra’s rendition provides good action and distinctive Japanese storytelling signals. Meilo So’s pictures demonstrate the Japanese reverence for the brushstroke. I didn’t like the color choices and the disjointed building of forms against a white field. The stark background diminished the visual details I might have otherwise enjoyed. But, I ...more
Giant ogres raid a village and take its babies for their tasty belly buttons. Little Urikohme goes after the ogres to rescue the babies with the help of some animal friends. She is not afraid because she was born inside a watermelon and has no belly button.

This tale was completely foreign to me and quite honestly downright bizzare! It seemed barbaric to me that even ogres would want to eat belly buttons. I guess I shouldn't feel so surprised given that my own family is famous for biting babies'
May 08, 2008 Katey rated it it was amazing
CIP/Summary: Uriko, born of a watermelon, must use her cunning to save the village's children from the Oni who consider baby belly buttons to be a tasty treat.

Tasty Baby Belly Buttons is a scary, fun tale of a little girl, Uriko, whose spunky cleverness triumphs over the monstrous Oni who steal children from the village in order to feast upon their delicious navals. While all ages will enjoy the humorous watercolor illustrations of the hairy-kneed Oni, and hearing about Uriko's bravery, the pri
Feb 01, 2010 Kasey rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: um, no
Recommended to Kasey by: I can't remember, but they were wrong
So I wonder if a person from a foreign country where to read some childhood favorite of mine & feel the same kind of disconnect as I did. I kept waiting for the expected, "If you're bad they'll come & eat your belly button!" But no, appearantly they just come & take all the babies away and eat them. Um, had this story been told to me as I child I think I'd still be hiding under the bed. And since the monsters were not destroyed, just told not to do it again...definately still under ...more
Jul 24, 2012 Suzy rated it really liked it
I love this book! Not only is it the 5 year old girl (born in a melon) who goes on a warrior's quest to save the babies from the bad giants (who want to eat their belly buttons -- luckily the girl doesn't have one), but every step of the way she shares what she has with everyone else -- even the giants after she has conquered them. Wonderfully told, beautifully illustrated. Hands down, one of my favorite folk tales to read aloud.
Oct 03, 2013 Miriam rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture, mythology

An elderly couple who long for a child receive a baby girl in a melon. Thanks to her unusual origin, she has no belly button (and oni's favorite delicacy) and thus is spared when the ogres carry off all the other babies to their island. Will her sword-fighting and dumpling-cooking skills be enough to save the hapless infants?
Aug 06, 2015 Kris rated it it was amazing
I just adore this retelling of the Japanese folktale about a young protagonist who battles fearsome canabalistic "oni" (giants) in order to rescue some captured babies. Kids love the spunky central character along with the creep-factor of the villains and will readily join in with their repeated chant - "belly button, belly buttons, tasty baby belly buttons."
Karen Maurer
Sep 05, 2016 Karen Maurer rated it liked it
fun folk tale.
Andrea Fortwendel
Apr 29, 2008 Andrea Fortwendel rated it it was amazing
My kids loved this retelling of a famous Japanese story. Sierra uses language found in the tales and since she is a expert of folklore around the world, she rewrites stories as true to the culture as possible. My kids enjoy her books and they always have a youthful quirkiness that adults and kids love. Her use of language is smart and silly and loads of fun.
Nov 17, 2014 Ema rated it it was amazing
I checked this book out from the library so many times that I finally had to buy it. My son enjoys it. The Oni (villains) were a bit scary when he was younger but he still wanted me to read it to him. I like to read stories to my kids that come from different countries and this is a good book to introduce Japanese folklore.
Judi Paradis
Dec 05, 2009 Judi Paradis rated it really liked it
Can you imagine evil giants that capture babies and eat their belly buttons? Well, in this old Japanese legend, it takes a girl born in a melon, a monkey, a dog and a pheasant to get the babies back and they do a great job. This reads really well aloud--with lots of places for kids to chant along. Weird and fun.
Oni, the terrible giants, kidnap children for their belly buttons. Not so fast Oni, for here is Uriko-hime the brave melon princess with her millet dumplings, sword, pheasant bird, dog, and monkey to their rescue. #Japanese #folktale.
A little girl born from a melon sets off with a dog, a pheasant and a monkey and a bag of millet dumplings to rescue the village babies kidnapped by the terrible giant oni for their delectable belly buttons.
Jul 06, 2014 Graziella rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-mom-shelf
I'm disappointed that this children's book appears to be out of print - it's a wonderfully illustrated japanese fairy tale but no fairies - just a plucky little girl with a band of animal companions who assist her in a quest against some belly-button-eating giants….terrific story and characters.
Nov 19, 2008 Erin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
This is a gorgeously illustrated folklore that appears to be drawn in watercolors. It tells the tale of a brave young warrior girl (born from a melon) who helps fight the oni - who like to eat baby bell buttons - a traditional tale with great spunk!
Jun 21, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s
The kids were intrigued by this Japanese folk tale. Great illustrations in the book. Slightly scary due to the giants stealing babies for their tasty belly buttons, but a nice happy ending with the heroine saving the day.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This was so cute! The title rolls nicely off the tongue, and compels you to open the book and read.
Nov 19, 2011 June rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: librarians, parents, & teachers
Recommended to June by: Capitol Choices
Shelves: programbook, japan
I have had great success with this in folklore or country programs. The children just seem be fascinated with the idea of someone eating belly buttons.
Jun 02, 2014 Shannon rated it it was amazing
This book is a blast to read out loud. Both my 2 and 6 year olds enjoyed it. I particularly liked that it had a girl as the hero.
Samantha Penrose
I love the title. I love to eat tasty baby belly buttons. I like the illustrations. The story just didnt do it for me.
Sep 15, 2008 Nicole rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: teachers, and children third grade and up.
I great book for older children probably no younger than third grade. It teaches determination, and right from wrong. It's based on a Japanese folk tale.
Shanshad Whelan
Shanshad Whelan rated it liked it
Oct 27, 2011
R4 rated it really liked it
Apr 11, 2011
Yoko rated it liked it
Apr 08, 2015
Keir Bridges
Keir Bridges rated it really liked it
Aug 25, 2016
Jeannette rated it liked it
Jul 02, 2008
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I took the long-cut to being an author. Out of college I did temporary work in offices and libraries, while at night, I wrote poetry and made strange life forms from cloth. When I teamed up with a puppeteer, Bob Kaminski (my husband), I was able to bring my cloth creations to life. We began performing on the streets of San Francisco, at Renaissance fairs, and at schools. After attending a workshop ...more
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