Komako Sakai has cute down pat. That sort of ovary crushing pain inducing cute that you want to sleep under your pillow at night. That makes you want to have babies or go get a puppy.
First there was Emily’s Balloon, in which a small girl has a fleeting relationship with a yellow balloon. Her mom gets the idea to tie the string to a spoon so it can follow her along throughout her day. Everything’s dandy, until it gets caught in a breeze and stuck in a tree. This is where things get really painful for the sensitive reader. Emily wishes the balloon was still there with her as she has dinner, and we see as she imagines the balloon with a place at the table. As she gets ready for sleep, Emily still longs for her new friend and we see the happy balloon in a sleeping cap snuggled next to her in bed.
If that doesn’t get you, then get a peek at The Snow Day. This is probably the only instance of me thinking a bunny with red eyes is cute. Ever. Bunnies with red eyes are scary, but somehow Sakai makes them endearing. The book is slightly dark with lots of muted shades of grey and charcoal lines that capture the anxiousness that accompanies childhood. Many of the pages are wordless, letting the mood of being snowed in seep out to you.