Why Max “Meows" and Risa “Nyaas”?

Cracking the Code of Animal Sounds Across Cultures

Children - Educational
32 Pages
Reviewed on 04/26/2024
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Author Biography

David Huerta: Bridging Cultures Through Children’s Stories

David Huerta's life journey is characterized by his deep bond with Japan over 25 years, a country that has profoundly influenced his perspective and creativity. As an award-winning children’s book author, David is passionate about introducing young minds to the rich traditions of Japanese culture. Onomatopoeias play an important part in everyday Japanese language and culture for both children and adults. For anyone learning the Japanese language and who wants to communicate like a native speaker, an understanding of these lively sound expressions is essential. His latest work, “Why Max ‘Meows’ and Risa ‘Nyaas’?”, introduces children to the fun world of Japanese onomatopoeia and how different cultures interpret sounds in their own unique ways.

Drawing from his enriching experience teaching English and cross-cultural studies in Kobe, Japan, David infuses his storytelling with educational insights, crafting enchanting narratives that captivate young hearts and curious minds. In addition to writing, David is the co-founder of a tech marketing firm and embraces the roles of father and husband.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Astrid Iustulin for Readers' Favorite

When Max finds a mouse in a cage in his class, he is surprised that his friend Risa imitates the little creature's sound in an unusual way. The same thing happens again later while they are in the garden and hear a bee buzzing by. The two children discuss the topic but cannot reach a solution. Max decides to investigate why Risa hears animal sounds differently than him, and the next day, he has plenty of opportunities for it. For every animal he and Risa think of, the sounds are always different in English and Japanese, even if some are similar. How will the two friends decide who is right and who is wrong? Find out in David Huerta's entertaining and educational story, Why Max “Meows" and Risa “Nyaas”? Cracking the Code of Animal Sounds Across Cultures.

Why Max “Meows" and Risa “Nyaas”? is fun to read and teaches a great lesson to young readers. I often reflected on onomatopoeias, which are different in every language. David Huerta wrote the perfect story to explain this concept to children, enabling them to understand the differences between languages and appreciate cultures other than their own. I believe this book will take young readers on an educational and cultural journey that will make them reflect on essential concepts and teach them something new. Max and Risa's story is beautifully illustrated, making it even more enjoyable to follow them as they discover new onomatopoeias. I recommend this book to young readers and hope there will be more stories to continue this fun adventure with Max and Risa.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

What sound does a cat make? Meow? Are you sure? In Japan, a cat goes “nyaas.” In David Huerta’s Why Max “Meows" and Risa “Nyaas”? the author presents many examples of animal sounds, or onomatopoeia, and what these sounds translate to in the two languages: English and Japanese. Max is on a mission to discover the difference and Risa, his classmate, is keen to help him. Max says a horse goes “neigh” while Risa says a horse goes “hi-hiin.” Who’s right? They have a hilarious time comparing animal sounds and arguing about which sound is the right one. In the end, they conclude that it’s all reflective of their different cultures and languages. What a fun way to learn cultural differences.

David Huerta’s picture book Why Max “Meows" and Risa “Nyaas”? Cracking the Code of Animal Sounds Across Cultures is a clever approach to teaching young readers about onomatopoeia and how different cultures create the sounds that animals make. The language is simple so young readers can easily follow along and improve their reading skills and the onomatopoeia in both languages is written in a different font and color to boldly stand out. The illustrations are spectacular and help move the story along. At the end of the book is a chart that compares the various animal sounds in both English and Japanese, along with the phonetic pronunciation. A simple, but powerful story about friendship, different cultures, learning different languages, curiosity, and where it can lead an inquisitive mind.

Pikasho Deka

Why do animal sounds seem different in English from Japanese? Find out in this amusing picture book by David Huerta. Why Max "Meows" and Risa "Nyaas"? follows the story of a young boy named Max and his friend Risa as they discover linguistic differences in sounds between different cultures. When Max and Risa find a mouse in a cage in their class, Risa can't wait for it to go "chuu-chuui." After hearing Risa saying out loud the sounds of different animals, including crows, bees, and horses, Max decides to become a sound detective, leading him to the realization that every native language has its unique onomatopoeias, which means speakers of different languages imitate the sounds these represent. For this reason, animal sounds in English and Japanese tend to vary.

Hop on for a fun adventure to discover the magic of onomatopoeias with Why Max "Meows" and Risa Nyaas"? This is a story of friendship and adventure with a gentle lesson about understanding and embracing different cultures and languages. Using vibrant artwork and an engaging prose style, David Huerta spins a fun-filled yarn that will bring joy and laughter to young and adult readers alike. This is the second book I've read by Huerta, and, apart from his evident mastery in telling captivating stories, I'm impressed by the way the author uses his love and knowledge of Japanese culture as an inspiration to enrich his tales. Max and Risa are adorable characters that young readers will relate to. So grab a copy and treat yourself and your children to this fascinating adventure tale!