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The Funny Little Woman (Picture Puffins) Paperback – February 14, 1993

4.7 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

In this tale set in Old Japan, a lively little woman who loves to laugh pursues her runaway dumpling-and must outwit the wicked three-eyed oni when she lands in their clutches.

About the Author

Arlene Mosel (1921-1996) first heard the story of Tikki Tikki Tembo as a child. When she grew up, she shared this wonderful tale with countless children, including her own. Because so many young listeners responded enthusiastically, she decided to write her own retelling, and "Tikki Tikki Tembo" became her first book for children. The book was named an American Library Association Notable Book and won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. In 1997, The New York Times named it one of the best 50 children's books of the previous 50 years. Mosel was also the author of "The Funny Little Woman", which won the 1973 Caldecott Medal for Blair Lent's illustrations and was recognized as an Honor Book by the Hans Christian Andersen International Children's Book Awards. Mosel was an associate professor of library science at Case Western Reserve University. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Mosel died in Indianapolis in 1996.

Blair Lent received the Caldecott Medal for "The Funny Little Woman" by Arlene Mosel. He has also received three Caldecott Honors. He is the illustrator of Ms. Mosel's "Tikki Tikki Tembo", a bestseller since its publication in 1968. Blair Lent lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 2 - 5 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - Kindergarten
  • Lexile Measure: 570L (What's this?)
  • Series: Picture Puffins
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; Reissue edition (February 14, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140547533
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140547535
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
From the pen that brought us the adventures of "Tikki Tikki Tembo" (no I am NOT going to repeat his full name) comes the tale of "The Funny Little Woman". Funny, that is, because she finds everything in the world so very amusing. I'll begin by stating that this 1973 Caldecott winner is probably not very accurate in its representations of Japan. That said, let's move on and examine a story that contains elements of everything from "Strega Nona" and the song "On Top of Spaghetti" to that ancient tale of the "The Gingerbread Man".

This is the story of a funny little woman who lives all by herself in her own little hut. She's a dumpling maker by trade, and one day a naughty dumpling escapes down a crack in her floor. As she reaches for it, the floor gives way and the woman finds herself on an ancient road surrounded by statues of gods. The statues warn the woman not to attract the attention of the local Oni (an evil demon) but the woman's giggles can't keep her hidden for long. Soon she's cooking for all the Oni in their homes with the help of a magic paddle. By the end, however, the woman wishes to return to her house and it is only when she is able to make the Oni laugh at her (rather than vice versa) that she is enabled to escape and prosper.

Like all good folktales, this one contains elements that are familiar throughout the world. Illustrator Blair Lent (also of "Tikki Tikki Tembo" fame) has outdone himself with these pictures. The castles of the Oni are a deep jade green. When the funny little woman runs before them, her bright orange dress glowing brightly and the contrast is superb. The story is one that kids will enjoy as well. Though the Oni are fearsome, the threat they pose is somewhat minimal. After all, they just want to be fed.
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Format: School & Library Binding
The very funny story, makes you laugh because the "..Little Woman" always laughs at activities. As a teacher I use this wonderful story in my 4th grade classroom for a lesson on charater building, that good things can come out of bad situations as long as you believe in yourself. The little woman kept her laughter even in a bad situation and that laughter is what helped her out of that bad situation. I also use the story as an introduction to Asian Tales.
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Format: Paperback
I was in the first grade when this book was released. I must have read it hundreds of times. I'm pleased to discover it's still in print. It has an indescribable quality that has stuck in my memory for thirty years: the warm but mysterious Asian elements, the damp green rooty feel of the pictures, the light and quirky text. I plan on reading it to my four year old--hundreds of times.
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Format: Paperback
When I was a child, I remember taking this book out on loan from the library countless times and reading it with my sister. Even then, it helped me develop an interest in Asian countries. The pictures are just delightful and the overall message--laughter will get you through it all--is a good mantra to learn early on. Few children's books have had the same effect on me.
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By A Customer on October 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
The funny little woman and her strange counterparts might throw adults into somekind of frenzy but kids will recognize the funniness of the situation.This book isn't scary but hyper and totally amusing.Recommended to people who who like weird and wonderful tales.
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By A Customer on May 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
This children's book, retold by Arlene Mosel based on a story by Lafcadio Hearn, is about a Japanese woman who falls into a cavern and is forced to bake rice cakes for some underground demons. Her ability to laugh enables her to find a way to escape. The book was illustrated by Blair Lent and it won the 1973 Caldecott Medal for best illustrations in a book for children.
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Format: Paperback
Here's another I came across at the library for my daughter. I was delighted as I remembered it from youth. There are so few books that stick in your mind forever. That's what makes them so endearing. And after all, kids are the Real critics. Do they remember or forget?

Both the story and illustrations are unforgettable. The pictures tell a story all their own. The colors are breathtaking with gorgeous jade, warm browns, dazzling yellows, bright orange and black accents. Anyone who loves monsters like in 'Where the Wild Ones Are' will appreciate the "wicked" oni, who are called that, I think, just for added appeal as they are really just hungry, horned, three-eyed, long-haired monsters who want the Funny Little Woman to be their cook since, well, after all...she's there. I think another aspect which makes this book so appealing is that the child can see above ground and underground at the same time; however, only the location that is taking place in any given time during the story is in color yet both are still intriguing. I remember as a child being fascinated with the old man in the story who never says a word but is a powerful presence in the story, nonetheless. He adds some mystery which is always a good thing in a story.

BOTTOM LINE: The funny little woman, no matter WHAT happens good or bad, ALWAYS laughs and makes the Best of the situation. This is a simple yet terrific take-home point of the story that ages 5-105 can appreciate. Books with an interesting story, fascinating, colorful illustrations AND have a lesson to learn are always welcome in our home. I'm so glad this book is still in print. It's a timeless classic.

Soar!
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