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The Beckoning Cat: Based on a Japanese Folktale Library Binding – March 1, 2009


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The Beckoning Cat: Based on a Japanese Folktale + I Am Tama, Lucky Cat: A Japanese Legend + Japanese Maneki Neko Fortune Cat Lucky Cat White Solar Powered Waving Arm!
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
  • Lexile Measure: 690L (What's this?)
  • Library Binding: 1 pages
  • Publisher: Holiday House (March 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823420515
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823420513
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 8.7 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #522,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nishizuka's engaging debut recounts a folktale about a good-luck symbol in Japan. Young Yohei lives by the sea with his sick father, eking out a meager income by selling fish door-to-door. When a wet cat appears at their door, he welcomes her and, despite his own hunger, shares his modest dinner. Soon after, his father grows too sick to be left alone, and Yohei despairs: how can he sell fish and still care for him? Buyers begin appearing as if by magic, lured by a beckoning white cat. She's calling customers on your behalf! one client declares. I have never heard of a cat repaying a kindness. The father recovers, the boy prospers and the beckoning cat becomes a popular symbol for merchants. Litzinger's (The Animals Watched) full-bleed pictures—a highly tactile mix of watercolor, colored pencil, ink and gouache—combine comfortably rounded, stylized forms and a gently shaded palette to evoke a contemplative mood. As the story progresses, the cat—not realistically drawn to begin with—increasingly resembles its real-life porcelain incarnations, seated, with an oversize head, its right front paw raised in greeting. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

This charming retelling of a Japanese folktale explains the good-luck symbolism behind the waving white cat, whom kids may recognize in the ubiquitous white statues that sit with paws raised on business counters. Young Yohei, a poor, hardworking door-to-door fish monger, finds his life transformed after a muddy white cat comes begging. Yohei shares his meager dinner with the feline visitor, and the next day he is astonished when customers begin to come straight to him. The reason, he soon discovers, is the grateful white cat, who lures people to Yohei’s door with his beckoning paw and stays on to help Yohei create a prosperous fish business. In her children’s book debut, Nishizuka writes in captivating, simple, easily paced language that is well suited for storytime, as are Litzinger’s watercolor, pencil, and gouache pictures. In petal-soft shades and textures, the uncluttered compositions feature appealingly rounded, expressive figures, and children will enjoy following, and then talking about, the mysterious, prominently placed green-eyed cat to the book’s happy conclusion. Preschool-Grade 2. --Gillian Engberg

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Customer Reviews

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Wonderful story, artfully told and beautifully illustrated.
Jon Gerow
The rewards of kindness and compassion - - a universal theme - - are portrayed with great sensitivity and intelligence.
Marilyn Kochman
This book will be a welcome addition to any child's library.
Kim C. Flodin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lorraine M. Racus on December 30, 2010
Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
I love this book. The writing just flows. The story of a young boy named Yoshei. Yoshei helps his father by selling fish. When his father becomes ill, Yoshei must sell the fish by himself, and also take care of his father. Yoshei will no longer be able to sell fish, and it will result in his not being able to buy his father medicine. One rainy night this dirty, matted white cat appears on Yoshei's doorstep. This cat will be the good luck symbol for Yoshei and his father. This book is beautifully written. The writing just flows. This book has also been nominated for Washington Children's Choice Picture Book Award. I think ages 4-8 would enjoy this book. Actually, if you read this book aloud I think older children would it enjoy it also. Beautiful illustrations.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By L. T. Sharpe on February 5, 2009
Format: Library Binding
This is a charming tale, charmingly told! The story of the "beckoning cat" is an old one in Japanese folk lore. Koko Nishizuka keeps the Japanese flavor of the piece, while communicating the universal lessons learned from generosity and open-heartedness. It's such a refreshing and appealing tale, especially for today's world, one that kids will love for the cat, of course, but one that adults can embrace for its simple but true morale of what goes around comes around, the rewards of sharing, for simply doing good. Rosanne Litzinger's illustrations are fresh and fun and winning. I look forward to more collaborations between Nishizuka and Litzinger!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. L. Sharp on May 31, 2011
Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
What a lovely story --so that explains the little cat at Asian restaurants, sitting by the cash register and waving its upturned paw. Best of all though, are the wonderful illustrations by Ms. Litzinger. Her use of bold shapes and beautifully selected color harmonies really make it a fun and lively page-turner (I've collected many of her other children's books, and I really love her work), and look closely at her use of line --she's a very special artist, no doubt about it.
Great job everyone, all around.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Experienced Editor VINE VOICE on April 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The Beckoning Cat, based on a Japanese folktale, relates the background behind the popular little good-luck cat figurines found in Japanese shops. Once upon a time, it seems, the hard-working son of a poor fisherman shared his meager supper with a wet, shivering, muddy white cat. When his father became ill, the boy was unable to take their fish to market, but the white cat found a way to save the family from destitution. The theme of kindness rewarded is familiar in the folklore of many cultures, but this retelling is particularly pleasing. The text, simple and smooth, incorporates authentic details of traditional Japanese culture: for example, a young woman laughs "lightly, covering her mouth with her kimono sleeve." Stylized illustrations combine transparent and opaque watercolors with colored pencil for a quietly sophisticated effect. The blending of text and art is ideal.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jon Gerow on April 1, 2011
Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
Wonderful story, artfully told and beautifully illustrated. The first day, my 8 year old read this book cover to cover three times. Book is hard bound with cover. An absolute bargain at this price.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Varadan on August 4, 2010
Format: Library Binding
When Yohei's father becomes ill, Yohei has to do the work of two, catching fish and selling them door to door. When his father's illness becomes more serious, Yohei cannot leave home to sell the fish. Then comes a tapping at the door, and Yohei takes pity on a bedraggled white cat, sharing his meal with her. Thus begins a series of wondrous events, reminding readers that no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.

I was charmed by the story and how it was told. The voice is delicate and gentle, like the story itself. The illustrations are simple and elegant. This is a book youngsters will want to hear -- and later read -- again and again.
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