Chin Yu Min and the Ginger Cat

Overview

Mary GrandPré’s debut picture book returns!

* “HIN YU MIN is nearly done in by her own haughtiness after she spurns the kindness of her neighbors. Encountering a cat catching fish with a graceful flick of its tail, she eagerly offers the creature a home in exchange for food. Complacent once again, the old woman rudely dismisses a beggar, giving him nothing but a torn and tattered basket—naware that her beloved cat is asleep inside.

"In a dynamic debut, Grandpré’ illustrations capture every humorous nuance, even ...

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Overview

Mary GrandPré’s debut picture book returns!

* “HIN YU MIN is nearly done in by her own haughtiness after she spurns the kindness of her neighbors. Encountering a cat catching fish with a graceful flick of its tail, she eagerly offers the creature a home in exchange for food. Complacent once again, the old woman rudely dismisses a beggar, giving him nothing but a torn and tattered basket—naware that her beloved cat is asleep inside.

"In a dynamic debut, Grandpré’ illustrations capture every humorous nuance, even as they convey Chin Yu Min’ anguish at her own folly. Armstrong’ vigorous text is rich with imagery and regional flavor, making the ultimate reunion of the repentant woman and her faithful feline all the more endearing. A treat to be savored.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred

An ALA Notable Book

A Bank Street College of Education Best Book

New York Public Library 100 Books for Reading and Sharing

Through her friendship with a ginger cat, a haughty Chinese widow learns to be humble and to provide for herself.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Recommended not only for general picture book collections, but also for special collections aimed at older readers and promoted through read-alouds and storytelling."--Booklist.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Nimble, polished prose and elegant, cinnamon-toned paintings distinguish this pungent Chinese folktale. Newly widowed (and newly impoverished) Chin Yu Min is nearly done in by her own haughtiness after she spurns the kindness of her neighbors: ``Coin by square-holed-coin, her strings of cash flowed away like streams from a fishpond.'' Encountering a cat expertly catching fish with a graceful flick of its tail, she eagerly offers the creature a home in exchange for food. Complacent once again, the old woman rudely dismisses a beggar, giving him nothing but ``a torn and tattered basket''--unaware that her beloved cat is asleep inside. In a dynamic debut, Grandpre's tony illustrations--featuring strikingly angular, elongated figures--capture every humorous nuance, even as they convey Chin Yu Min's anguish at her own folly. Armstrong's ( Hugh Can Do ) vigorous text is rich with imagery and regional flavor, making the ultimate reunion of the repentant woman and her faithful feline all the more endearing. Neatly turned phrases and carefully considered language fall pleasantly on the ear without becoming flowery or overdone. In sum, the graceful balance of word and image yields a treat to be savored. Ages 4-9. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
The proud and haughty widow Chin Yu Min learns happiness and humility through her friendship with a mysterious ginger cat in this dramatically illustrated folktale. The illustrations are strong and have a strange look, but are appealing. 1996 (orig.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Set in a village near Kunming, China, this is a tale of friendship. When Chin Yu Min's husband dies suddenly, she is soon reduced to poverty. Her pride won't allow her to get help from her neighbors. Everything changes from the time she meets the ginger cat who catches so much fish for her that she regains her wealth selling fish to the villagers. The cat becomes her best friend and when he disappears, her life loses meaning. Beautifully told with painting that look like they are made of silk make this a hauntingly beautiful book.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-4-- Chin Yu Min, a haughty and frivolous rich woman in a fictitious Old China, must mend her ways when her husband dies and her money runs out. She meets a ginger cat who fishes so well with his tail that she recoups some of her fortunes from selling his catches. When he disappears, Chin Yu Min is so distraught that she humbles herself enough to ask her neighbors for help; when the cat is found, she invites them to dinner. Despite a rather abrupt volte-face, this is an amusing story that is told with gusto in mellifluous prose. The exaggerated melodramatics of Chin Yu Min offset her vicissitudes with comic effect and successfully soften the implied moral. The illustrations, in watercolor and pastels, accentuate the entertaining theatricality of the text. Colors are rich, yet applied with subtlety. Composition is dramatic, and perspective is employed strikingly. The eponymous cat is properly anthropomorphized without losing his felinity. As this is a fanciful invention, inaccuracy of detail in clothing, dwellings, implements, etc. can be overlooked. However, the exaggerated stylization and angular pitch of the characters' eyes and cheekbones perpetuate an unfortunate, offensive stereotype. This surprising and distressing feature disqualifies an otherwise enterprising work for inclusion in any children's collection. --John Philbrook, San Francisco Public Library
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780517885499
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Series: Dragonfly Bks.
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.60 (w) x 8.77 (h) x 0.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary GrandPré has illustrated many fine picture books and is the creator of the artwork for the Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling.

Ever since the first grade, Jennifer Armstrong knew that she would become an author. She loved making up stories and sharing them with others. Her family treasured books and this led her to become an avid reader of all types of fiction. It was no surprise when she chose to study English and American Literature at Smith College in Massachusetts.

Armstrong is the author of over 50 books for children from kindergarten through high school. Best known for writing historical fiction, she has also been successful in creating picture books, easy readers, chapter books, young adult novels, as well as nonfiction.

Armstrong, who grew up outside of New York City, now lives in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Jennifer Armstrong is the winner of the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World. Many of her books have been designated as Notable Books by the American Library Association and the International Reading Association.

For more information on Jennifer Armstrong, visit her website at www.jennifer-armstrong.com, or read her blog at www.jennifer-armstrong.blogspot.com.

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