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Children's Fiction Country & Ethnic

Peach Girl

by (author) Raymond Nakamura

illustrated by Rebecca Bender

Pajama Press Inc.
Initial publish date
May 2014
Country & Ethnic, Humorous Stories, Asia
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2014
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 5 to 8
  • Grade: k to 3


In this reimagining of a Japanese folk tale, Momoko is born from a peach to make the world a better place. Despite rumours of a terrible ogre that lives nearby and eats children, Momoko bravely sets out with a pocketful of dumplings and the timid Monkey, Dog, and Pheasant to find out the truth for herself.

When the farmer and her husband find a giant peach at their door, they can't imagine how it got there. But they are even more surprised when the skin bursts open and out leaps...a girl. Momoko is here to make the world a better place, and what better way to start than by investigating the rumours about a fearsome local ogre? Everyone says the ogre has teeth like knives, shoots flames from his eyes, and eats small children.

But Momoko wants to find out for herself, and her new friends Monkey, Dog, and Pheasant might just be able to help her - as long as she's willing to share those tasty peach dumplings.

In Peach Girl, Raymond Nakamura creates a quirky modern telling of an old Japanese folktale. Award-winning illustrator Rebecca Bender's spirited acrylics bring to life a spunky heroine, a trio of expressive animals, and a vivid Japanese landscape.


About the authors

Raymond Nakamura is an educational consultant and an avid science blogger who has worked with the Vancouver Aquarium, Nikkei National Museum, and Science World British Columbia. Now living on Canada's west coast, he explored his Japanese heritage while spending time at a marine station and teaching ESL in Southern Japan. Raymond's own spunky daughter inspired the character of Momoko in Peach Girl, his first book.

Raymond Nakamura's profile page

Rebecca Bender is a well-loved author-illustrator of children’s books as well as an art director and designer. Her picture books include Not Friends, Don’t Laugh at Giraffe, Giraffe Meets Bird, Peach Girl (illustration), and How Do You Feel?. She has also illustrated the chapter books Slug Days, Penguin Days, and Duck Days. Rebecca’s awards and honors include the OLA Blue Spruce Award, a Cooperative Children’s Book Center best-of-the-year choice, and a Toronto Public Library best-of-the-year selection. Rebecca graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design at the top of her class, earning the Medal for Illustration. She lives in Burlington, Ontario, with her husband and two children.


Rebecca Bender's profile page


  • Commended, Cooperative Children's Book Center Best-of-the-Year
  • Commended, Toronto Public Library First & Best List Selection
  • Commended, Resource Links "The Year's Best"

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Peach Girl

2015 Cooperative Children's Book Center Best-of-the-Year

2014 Toronto Public Library First & Best List

2014 Resource Links "The Year's Best"

"...this story has a satisfying ring and a tasty ending. A winningly good-natured version of a familiar favorite."—Kirkus Reviews

"Nakamura’s playful twists on gender tropes combined with Bender’s outstanding visuals make this a fun and important book for boys and girls alike."—Quill & Quire

"...feisty Momoko is a truth-seeking explorer who doesn’t let gossip...deter her from having fabulous experiences...Momoko is surely a 21st-century original hero with epic potential."—Smithsonian Book Dragon

"Inspired by the Japanese story, Peach Boy, this tale (illustrated with acrylics) stars a courageous girl who makes the world a friendlier place through her actions and beliefs. She brings strangers together (Next time, I’ll bring my folks too) and shares what she can; even if it’s all she owns. Set in old Japan, the beautiful picture book with full page paintings, will be cherished by many generations to come."—Resource Links

"Nakamura has created an iconic figure in the dauntless Momoko...Bender’s illustrations are bigger than life and saturated with exuberant colour."—The National Reading Campaign

"...told with humour and charm, and the repetition lends a lyrical quality to the story...[W]onderfully appealing pictures, many featuring softly coloured peachy tones, while others are brightly hued, lively in detail and highlight glorious landscapes."—CM Magazine

"Based on an old Japanese tale, this picture book has the feel of a magical fairy tale. Momoko, the girl who magically appears out of a peach, bravely sets off to save the world from an ogre. Together with her animal friends, Momoko eventually finds the ogre who, it turns out, does not eat children but enjoys tea with peach dumplings."—The International Educator

"Vivid pictures and fun characters remind the reader that looks can be deceiving."—The Calgary Herald

"Based on a traditional Japanese folktale about a peach boy named Momotaro who fights demons, Raymond Nakamura updates the story with a strong female protagonist as an activist, rather than a warrior. Her no-nonsense attitude and tact are the armaments of her endeavour, ones she embodies rather than carries."—CanLit for LittleCanadians

"The illustrations by Rebecca Bender are bright, exciting and compliment the narrative very well. Plenty of peachy colors assist the light and fun tone. Readers looking for a strong female protagonist will enjoy Momoko's adventure in Peach Girl."—New York Botanical Gardens, "Children's Books Explore the Power of Community"

“This story is a modern reimagination of a Japanese folk tale and the traditional style is evident, especially in the ending. We loved the story and the spunk of the Peach Girl…” —Vancouver Mom

Librarian Reviews

Peach Girl

In this reimagining of a Japanese folk tale, Momoko is born from a peach to make the world a better place. Despite rumours of a terrible ogre that lives nearby and eats children, Momoko bravely sets out with a pocketful of dumplings and the timid Monkey, Dog, and Pheasant to find out the truth for herself.

I would share this book during a lesson on folktales. Peach Girl is based on a well-known folktale (Peach Boy), but in this version the main character is a strong female protagonist. This gender-swap creates an opportunity to make comparisons to the traditional version of the story. The elements of folktales (the call to adventure, the journey, the evil adversary, and the moral or lesson) can also be deconstructed and explored using this picture book.

Teacher’s guide available (

Illustrator available for class visits. @raymondsbrain, @LittleStRebecca

Source: Association of Canadian Publishers. Top Grade Selection 2016.

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