I Am Tama, Lucky Cat, by Wendy Heinrichs (book review) – legend retold for all

Wait a minute… a picture book on a YA blog?

Yes, of course! Picture books are great for all ages and every interest. That’s why Picture Book Month reminds us of the wide range of stories where the pictures make the tale come alive, from Where the Wild Things Are to Grandfather’s Journey.

Today’s picture book theme celebrates folktales, so we look to a Japanese legend. Now you can discover why Lucky Cat became the friendly image that so often greets you in Chinese restaurants and oriental markets.

A charming book to spice up your world geography report or to share with younger friends. What do you wish the Lucky Cat could bring to you?

Book info: I Am Tama, Lucky Cat / Wendy Heinrichs; illustrated by Yoshiko Jaeggi. Peachtree Publishers, 2010. [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Book Talk: Arriving at an old Japanese temple, the bobtailed cat raises his paw in greeting. The monk brings him in from the snowstorm and calls him a lucky cat. So Tama strives to make life better for the monk in this beautiful retelling of the lucky cat legend. But with no money, how can Tama and the monk repair the temple and help its worshippers?

Watercolor images of the flowering trees and carp pond surrounding the rundown temple evoke the serenity of its setting near a holy mountain. This beautiful picture book for all ages includes short historical notes about the legend’s origins.

You’ll look for new details in the illustrations every time you read about Tama, and you’ll smile every time you see a ‘lucky cat’ in a store window or restaurant, his paw raised in traditional greeting. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

What do you think?

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