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The Tale of the Lucky Cat

The Tale of the Lucky Cat

by Sunny Seki (Retold by)

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Elizabeth Young
This re-telling of a famous Japanese folktale captures the charm and beauty of the culture both for first-time readers and those who are already familiar with the story. Tokuzo is a toymaker who travels from village to village selling his toys at local festivals. One night, as he walks to the next village, his life is changed forever. He sees a cat speed past him, chased by a ferocious dog. Tokuzo screams in an attempt to stop the animals, as a delivery horse and wagon race towards them. But it is no use. The cat is badly hurt as it is trampled by the horse. Only Tokuzo notices. He cares for the cat through the night, giving up his chance to sell more toys at a large festival. Though his heart and hopes are for the cat to recover, that doesn't happen. The cat dies before the next day was over. Later, Tokuzo believes he sees his cat and races towards it. As he does, lightning strikes the tree he is using for shelter. But where is the cat now? Tokuzo tells everyone who will listen, but no one will believe that a cat saved his life. He decides he should create a statue, so everyone can share his good fortune. The wise craftsman tells Tokuzo how to craft a cat statue, but is unable to assist. Each attempt is met with disappointment until the Old Master feels well enough to watch and help, finally free of the pain that prevented him from walking and working. The cat that saved one life has restored two. Statues of cats known as Maneki Neko (the cat that invites good luck) have appeared all over Japan to remind us that what we do now is the cause of tomorrow and just might save our lives. Written in English with Japanese characters, this book makes for a unique reading adventure and maycause many questions about Japanese culture to be asked. This would be a great launch into a religion and culture unit, but it is just as lovely for its story! Reviewer: Elizabeth Young
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Tokuzo, a poor toymaker, is on his way to a festival where he hopes to earn some money. When he witnesses a cat hurt in an accident, he names it Tama and stays to nurse it back to health. Unfortunately Tama dies. On his way again, Tokuzo takes cover under a tree in a storm. He thinks he sees Tama by a temple gate. Rushing there, he escapes a lightning strike on the tree. He is invited by the Osho-San of the temple to discuss his luck. He decides to work in the shop of the Master Craftsman to make statues of the cat. After much work, the statues he produces, called Maneko Neko or "The Cat That Invites Good Luck," are sold all over Japan. This traditional Japanese folktale presents a moral as well as an explanation of the cats thought to bring good luck in Japan. The lively, a bit cartoony watercolor illustrations compensate for a certain awkwardness in the text. Details are few but enough to generate sequences along with some details of architecture, costume, landscape, and the production of the statues. A glossary is missed. The book is available in eight bilingual editions. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz

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East West Discovery Press
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