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Three Samurai Cats: A Story from Japan Hardcover – September 1, 2004
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3-Here's an adaptation of an adaptation of a story Zen masters used to illustrate how unconventional approaches to problems can be disarmingly effective. When a daimyo's castle is besieged by an enormous, ferocious rat, the lord beseeches the abbot of a nearby monastery to send a samurai cat to drive the beast away. The first and second samurai to confront him are overwhelmed by the rodent's martial-arts skills, but the third, a tattered, disreputable-looking old feline, allows the rat's greed to work against him and emerges triumphant. Kimmel's telling is reasonably successful and the message to "Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat-" is conveyed without any element of preachiness. Gerstein's lively cartoon illustrations are at their best in depicting the loathsome rat. The daimyo and the abbot are depicted as dogs, but there's no question as to who has the upper paw.
Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
PreS-Gr. 2. In feudal Japan, a daimyo (powerful lord) is humiliated when a greedy, bullying rat takes over his castle, eats his food, and intimidates everyone. The daimyo seeks help from a shrine famous for training samurai cats. Two magnificent feline warriors arrive, but the rat effortlessly overpowers them. Desperate, the lord requests the toughest cat of all, and he is surprised when scrawny, aged Neko Roshi hobbles in. He is even more surprised when the cat refuses the rat's invitations to fight. As time passes, the rat's behavior grows more egregious, but Neko Roshi ignores the rodent--until it finally traps itself and leaves the castle defeated. Kimmel tempers the folktale's heavy message about passive resistance with humorous, perfectly paced language that is ideal for read-alouds, and the characters in Gerstein's colorful, detailed drawings are irresistible--the saggy-jowled hound in robes; the buffoonish, wildly costumed daimyo bulldog; the scruffy, shrunken Neko Roshi; and, best of all, the pot-bellied, gleefully wicked "barbarous rat," who is more comic foil than villain. An author's note offers some historical background and sources. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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The Three Samurai Cats is about a savage rat taking over a Japanese lord’s house.Read more