cover image Basket Weaver and Catches Many Mice

Basket Weaver and Catches Many Mice

Janet Gill. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $17 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-679-88922-9

In Gill's (the Swim Team series) original folktale set in a land ruled by a fearsome emperor, a cat repays an act of human kindness. When a man named Basket Weaver, signifying his trade, rescues a drowning feline, he calls her Catches Many Mice, believing that ""everyone should have a name to live up to."" He is pleased when the foundling decides to stay with him because cats are honored in his country; they ""followed their own minds and always made wise choices."" One day, the emperor orders Basket Weaver and three others each to produce a basket for his newborn daughter to sleep in; the winning weaver will remain at the emperor's palace and will be granted three requests, but the others will spend seven years working in the mines. The unexpected contents of Basket Weaver's creation (Catches Many Mice and her tiny kitten) thrill the emperor, who interprets their presence as a sign that his daughter will follow her own mind and make wise choices. Declared the victor, Basket Weaver uses one of his wishes to spare his competitors their dismal fate. Choi's (The Sun Girl and the Moon Boy) spare yet elegant paintings are rendered in colors as luxurious as silk; they seem to cast an iridescent glow over the proceedings. The story's message of the merits of prudence and benevolence will not be lost on readers. Ages 5-8. (June)