Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Beckoning Cat

Booklist (February 15, 2009 (Vol. 105, No. 12))
Preschool-Grade 2. This charming retelling of a Japanese folktale explains the good-luck symbolism behind the waving white cat, whom kids may recognize in the ubiquitous white statues that sit with paws raised on business counters. Young Yohei, a poor, hardworking door-to-door fish monger, finds his life transformed after a muddy white cat comes begging. Yohei shares his meager dinner with the feline visitor, and the next day he is astonished when customers begin to come straight to him. The reason, he soon discovers, is the grateful white cat, who lures people to Yohei’s door with his beckoning paw and stays on to help Yohei create a prosperous fish business. In her children’s book debut, Nishizuka writes in captivating, simple, easily paced language that is well suited for storytime, as are Litzinger’s watercolor, pencil, and gouache pictures. In petal-soft shades and textures, the uncluttered compositions feature appealingly rounded, expressive figures, and children will enjoy following, and then talking about, the mysterious, prominently placed green-eyed cat to the book’s happy conclusion.

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