The Greatest of All: A Japanese Folktale

Eric A. Kimmel, Author, Giora Carmi, Illustrator Holiday House $17.95 (1p) ISBN 978-0-8234-0885-6

Kimmel ( Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock ; Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins ) concisely retells this pleasant if low-key tale of a self-important mouse who lives in the emperor's palace and dresses in fine silk. He refuses to allow his daughter to marry a humble field mouse, announcing that whomever she marries ``must be the greatest of all.'' His quest to find the individual who fits this description begins with the emperor, who sends him to bright Sun, who defers to Cloud, who insists that Wind is far greater than he: ``When Wind blows, clouds scatter.'' In the end, of course, the mouse discovers that it is not these powerful forces but the hard-working field mouse who deserves his daughter's hand. Warm colors and distinctive texture mark Carmi's ( And Shira Imagined ; The Chanukkah Guest ) illustrations, which include effective renderings of the anthropomorphic natural elements. Ages 3-8. ( Oct. )