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. Agent: Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/03/2016
Release date: 11/15/2016
Genre: Children's
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