The Loyal Cat

Lensey Namioka, Author, Aki Sogabe, Illustrator Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $15 (0p) ISBN 978-0-15-200092-9
Clean lines, crisp typeface and an attractive balance between white space and illustrations endow this picture book with unusual grace. Based on a folktale Namioka (April and the Dragon Lady) learned from a relative, the story tells of a humble priest who rescues a kitten. The cat in turn saves him and his temple from poverty by employing its magical powers to levitate the coffin at a royal funeral. Neither warriors, wrestlers or the pompous prayers of famous priests can bring it back to earth-it's up to the cat's master to accomplish that task, and with the gold thus won, priest and cat resume to their simple, peaceful life. It's a satisfying tale of good rewarded, lit up by Sogabe's (Cinnamon, Mint & Mothballs) arresting illustrations, produced by layering hand-cut black paper over watercolored rice paper. The resulting stained-glass window effect is altogether striking. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/1995
Release date: 09/01/1995
Genre: Children's
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