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Literature / Yoko

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Yoko is a children's book published in 1998 by Rosemary Wells. The book stars a Japanese-American kitten who is getting ready for her first day of school. Unfortunately Yoko's first day at school doesn't turn out so well when she gets teased by the other students for her lunch, her favorite food sushi.

This is also the first book for Rosemary Well's Yoko Series and the titular character would later be the star of another book series called Yoko & Friends and would later be featured in the 2000 Nelvana Animated Adaptation of Timothy Goes to School which also adapts the story and the other books featuring the characters in the show.


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The book contains examples of the following tropes:

  • An Aesop: It has an anti-racism Aesop and an Aesop about accepting others' cultures.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Yoko wears a dress and no shoes.
  • Break the Cutie: After Yoko gets teased for having sushi for lunch, Miss Jenkins finds Yoko crying alone after class.
  • The Bus Came Back: This book marks the second appearance of Timothy from Timothy Goes to School along with Doris and Hazel from "Hazel's Amazing Mother".
  • Character Title: The book is called "Yoko" after the titular kitten. Also used in the episode based on this book.
  • Dedication: Rosemary Wells dedicated this book to Junko Yokota.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Yoko is basically a cat version of Timothy except she's Japanese.
  • First Day of School Episode: Yoko is introduced as a new student.
  • Foreign Queasine: Deconstructed. The classmates think Yoko's sushi is gross because it contains raw fish, but this ends up hurting her feelings.
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  • Funny Animal: The characters are anthropomorphic animals.
  • I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham: The main reason why the students dislike her sushi is that they've never had it before. Timothy is the only student that actually enjoys Yoko's sushi and doesn't tease.
  • Innocent Bigot: Yoko's classmates weren't intending to be racist; they just thought her food was weird and didn't realise that it was normal where she came from.
  • Prejudice Aesop: The moral is to accept food from other cultures.
  • Pun: At one point, the Franks bring franks and beans to school.
  • Stock Animal Diet: Played with. Yoko is a cat and eats fish, but she eats sushi rather than unprocessed fish and it's more because she's Japanese than because she's a cat. Similarly, the Franks are dogs and they eat sausages, but they eat them with beans and they were bringing them as something new.
  • Very Special Episode: This book tackles topics such as racism and teasing and is part of a bunch of books that take place in the same universe (like Timothy Goes to School and Noisy Nora).
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