Ton - Thao Lam
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I weigh _ _ pounds (or _ _ kilograms). Keep reading…

Ton, written and illustrated by Taro Miura, is a book with very few words. Using bold graphic images of workmen and all the equipment they use to lift and move heavy objects, Miura illustrates different weights and measurements. This well-paced story goes from a single construction worker lifting a 50-pound steal beam ending with an impressive gatefold spread illustrating a 10,000-ton tanker.

Studying at Osaka University for the Arts, Miura received his diploma in graphic design, which played a major role in influencing in his illustration style. It’s even reflected in the way he communicates his ideas. Like a designer who doesn’t have the luxury of space or time to elaborate on an idea, the illustrations are clear and concise. Against an all-white backdrop, the illustrations really pop with their industrious colours and their clean lines and shapes feel like they were drafted with precision. A grainy texture effect gives the illustrations and typeface an industrial feel, like they’re made from steel or concrete.

A lot of care was also taken with the typeface (I wouldn’t expect anything less from an award-winning illustrator AND graphic designer). The stencil-like typeface sits perfectly among images of workmen and industrial equipment. They remind me of those gigantic labels you see on the sides of shipping containers or of well-constructed drafting plans. Keen readers will also notice the typeface increasing in size as the weights get heavier.

Like Japanese haiku, this book may have very few words but it packs a punch. As an author and illustrator, Miura has the ability to decide what goes on a page and what stays off. His restraint is a reflection of Japanese culture, where beauty is believed to be in the simplicity of the design. Ton is simply beautiful.

As a bonus feature for eager beavers, the book comes with a handy dandy conversion chart explaining the different measuring systems (imperial system verses the metric system).

Ton, a children’s book review by Thao Lam




Author and Illustrator Taro Miura

Born in 1968, Taro Miura is an award-winning Japanese illustrator and graphic designer.

To find out more about Taro Miura, please visit his website:

Publisher Chronicle Books; First Printing edition (April 27, 2006)

ISBN-10 0811852466

ISBN-13 978-0811852463