As someone who's always been interested in not only preparing delicious and healthy meals but also presenting them beautifully, I was delighted to come across the idea of obento. I'm so looking forward to trying these ideas out for my little girl!
The book is very informative about the concept of "eating with your eyes" before you eat your meal, and also discusses the proportional nutrition of veg to starch to protein to fruit/sweets that is aimed for in the bento lunch concept. The sample pictures are oh-my-goodness adorable and extremely creative and instructions for each idea, as well as where to find extra materials (egg shapers, food picks, etc.) and cheaper but serviceable alternatives (hole punches, toothpicks, etc.) are clearly written. All concepts are defined and all recipes are clearly written - these ideas will take a bit of time to prepare, but are not at a difficulty level to make them something most people couldn't take on.
Personally I think this book will be just for ideas and instruction. The recipes were small portions (not practical in my household) and all but a few included meat (also not happening in my household). No big deal because they didn't write it to be a family-sized meal or vegetarian cookbook so I can't fault them for either. Just mentioning it as a heads-up to others who might be in the same situation (vegetarian and/or too busy to cook a tiny separate meal instead of simply including a portion of the whole family's larger meal).
The only critique I have of the book is one that another reviewer mentioned and that is the repetitiveness. For as adorable as the obento features in each recipe are, all are made of either egg, rice, lunch meat, hot dogs, or sliced cheese. Most of the facial features are made of nori. Again, I like the overall concepts and instructions but especially for a book that is supposedly super health-concsious, I was surprised at overprocessed foods being such staple ingredients and for my own creations plan to improvise with lower salt, nitrate, food coloring, and fat content items. There were some tiny decorative veg garnishes, but there weren't any recipes that didn't use the above mentioned items as the main part. The eggs & rice are healthy things, I just note them because it seemed like a repetitive use of ingredients, but even so was also glad to see a variety of options for shaping and presentation.
I love reading this book and would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in getting the basics of really cute obento theory and presentation.