What is a Mameshiba? Bean shaped dog, dog shaped bean, who knows, and frankly when something is this cute, who cares. In Mameshiba: On the Loose, you meet the whole crow of “bean dogs”, from Edamame, the leader of the pack, to Lentil, the scientific genius. The books consists of 2 stories, “Journey to the Center of the Sink,” which is broken up into two parts, and “Beans in Space.” Also included are two small, one page vignettes. In “Journey to the Center of the Sink,” a green pea goes missing down the drain after an unfortunate slip up during a stunt. Since there are three green peas in a pod, the disappearance of the third pea causes great despair for the remaining peas. Soon after, a rescue mission ensues and some of the Mameshiba head down the drain to find the missing pea. In the drain they find crazy things, such as mutant sewer chickens and kooky underground carrots, and they must battle them to reach the missing pea. “Beans in Space” centers around Lentil trying to teach the other Mameshiba about space, which leads to an actual trip to space, filled with astronaut poop, one-eyed Martians and random teleporting.
If the plot description sounds crazy, that’s because it is. The stories are quirky, unique and attention-grabbing, combined with a little potty humor makes this a sure fire hit with kids of all ages. The artwork is bold, engaging and colorful. The Mameshiba are just so cute and cuddly (yes there are stuffed Mameshiba available), the very fact that they exist is funny and the inserted jokes are laugh out loud. Mameshiba began in Japan in 2008 as short commercials to fill up air time, and the merchandise explosion bloomed from there; expect the same in the U.S.
Mameshiba: On the Loose
by James Turner
Art by Jorge Monlongo