I Am Tama, Lucky Cat

A Japanese Legend
by Wendy Henrichs
Illustrated by Yoshiko Jaeggi
Under the shadow of the white-capped mountains of Japan, a kind and gentle monk takes in a white cat with unusual markings and names him Tama, Lucky Cat.
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  • Price:
  • ISBN: 9781561455898
  • Publication date: 08/01/2011
  • Page Count: 32
  • Size: 8-1/4" x 10"
  • Age Range: 5-9
  • Price:
  • ISBN: 9781561459162
  • Publication date: 02/01/2016
  • Page Count: 32
  • Size: 8-1/4" x 10"
  • Age Range: 5-9
  • Price:
  • Age Range: 5-9
  • Price:
  • Age Range: 5-9
  • Price:
  • Age Range: 5-9
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Description

Under the shadow of the white-capped mountains of Japan, a kind and gentle monk takes in a white cat with unusual markings and names him Tama, Lucky Cat.

Tama watches as his new master teaches Buddha’s ways to poor farmers, caring for their welfare while ignoring his own empty stomach. Tama truly earns his nickname—“Lucky Cat,’ when during a powerful thunderstorm, he sees a towering warlord on a white horse. The cat beckons the warrior forward just as a large branch crashes to the ground and lands right where the warlord had previously stood. In gratitude to Tama, the warlord lavishes gifts on the monk’s poor temple.

In a marriage of graceful text based on one of the legends of Maneki Neko—“beckoning cat,” in early Edo-period Japan—and breathtaking watercolor illustrations, debut author Wendy Henrichs and award-winning illustrator Yoshiko Jaeggi offer a beautiful story of friendship, generosity, and kindness.

Author/Illustrator

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Wendy Henrichs

Author

Wendy Henrichs was inspired to write her wonderful picture book I Am Tama, Lucky Cat when she adopted two cats. One of them had a habit of raising her paw while sitting, just like a Japanese Lucky Cat figurine. Curiosity about the legends behind Lucky Cat led her to the story of Tama. She lives in Iowa.

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Yoshiko Jaeggi

Illustrator

Yoshiko Jaeggi was trained in her native Japan at the Osaka Municipal Institute of Fine Art and has illustrated several children’s books. She lives in Maryland.

Reviews

“Evocative watercolor illustrations capture ancient Japan in this picture-book retelling of the lucky-cat legend…With its compelling story and stunning art, this is a worthy addition.” ―School Library Journal

“The qualities of compassion and generosity that are gently demonstrated and the theme of virtue rewarded are undeniably laudable…Jaeggi’s lovely watercolors reflect the serene tone and evoke the exotic setting, and her use of panels echoes traditional Japanese artwork.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Jaeggi lavishes care on the watercolor illustrations, in which everyday features of Japanese life add historical and architectural interest.” ―Publishers Weekly

“After he takes in a hungry cat, a poor monk finds that good fortune and friendship come his way. Expressive watercolor illustrations.” ―Bank Street College of Education

“Comprised of graceful text from debut author Wendy Henrichs, and breathtaking watercolor illustrations from award-winning illustrator Yoshiko Jaeggi.” ―Midwest Book Review

“A warm, reassuring story.” ―Virginian Pilot /Hampton Roads

Awards

Best Children’s Books of the Year (Starred) ―Bank Street College of Education, 2012

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award ―Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, 2011

Society of School Librarians International Book Awards (Honor Book, Language Arts K-6 Picture Books) ―Society of School Librarians International, 2012

Storytelling World Resource Awards (Honor, Stories for Young Listeners) ―Storytelling World, 2012

More Details

AR Level: 4.4
F&P: GRL P, Gr 3, Genre TL
Lexile: AD830L
Themes: Buddhism, Japanese culture, Kindness, Legends
BISAC 1: JUV002050 JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / Cats
BISAC 2: JUV022000 JUVENILE FICTION / Legends, Myths & Fables
BISAC 3: JUV030020 JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / Asia

Books By Wendy Henrichs

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