cover image The Cat from Hunger Mountain

The Cat from Hunger Mountain

Ed Young. Philomel, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-17278-6

Young (Should You Be a River) weaves an elegant cautionary fable about Lord Cat, who lives “high above everyone” in a lofty pagoda. Young’s evocative, abstract paper collages convey the vulgar opulence—and later the terrifying scarcity—of Lord Cat’s existence. He hires a peacock to tailor a cream-colored kimono, sends birds of prey to bring him game animals, and has a panda wash his rice in the river and prepare his meals (“Can’t you see that the bowl is half-empty? Take it away,” Lord Cat commands). He lives as though material supplies are infinite, but a persistent drought brings an end to his prosperity. Downriver from Hunger Mountain, Lord Cat hears of “a kind monk in a modest temple nearby who gave free food to the hungry” and discovers what became of all the rice he threw away. Young crafts his images from a variety of patterned papers and photographs, a repurposing that gracefully echoes the story’s themes. Tellingly, he dedicates this elegant story to “the strange virtue in deprivation,” foreshadowing Lord Cat’s revelation while inviting interpretation and conversation. Ages 4–8. [em]Agent: Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis. (Nov.) [/em]