The Cat from Hunger Mountain by Ed Young

The Cat From Hunger Mountain by Ed Young

The Cat From Hunger Mountain by Ed Young; illustrated by Ed Young. 2016 Mixed Media Collage.

Brief summary: There is wealthy Lord Cat who is never satisfied or appreciative of what he has. He always wants more, more, more. He wants to live in the highest pagoda. His clothes are of silk and gold. He has the best food including his delicious rice from his paddies in the valley below. Lord Cat has so much extra rice that he tells his servants to throw the extra grains in the river. A drought comes causing famine. The villagers  and servants leave the mountain and move to the city where life will be easier for them to exist. The Lord Cat is left alone with all of his possessions. He must also now search for food. He comes across two beggars who tell him of a simple temple where a monk will feed the hungry. The Lord Cat, now a humble beggar too, goes to be fed and learns what it means to be truly blessed.  The rice he once had thrown in the river as a wasteful lord is the same that is in his bowl as a appreciative beggar. The cat goes from riches to rags and finally learns what is precious and meaningful.

Comments: Ed Young’s books are always a plus to any library collection with his rich tales and collage illustrations. This is a great tale to share now in the holiday season to remind us to be thankful and appreciative of what we have and what we can lose.

You can buy the book here.

(I may get a commission for purchases made through links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books reviewed were checked out of the public library and not sent to me free for review).

The Storyteller by Evan Turk

The Storyteller by Evan Turk

The Storyteller by Evan Turk; illustrated by Evan Turk. 2016. Water-soluble crayons, inks, indigo, colored drawing pencils, sugared green tea, a heat gun, and fire.

Brief summary: There is a drought in Morocco and a little boy looking for water comes across a storyteller(a blaykia) in the town’s square who tells him a tale of how the Sahara Desert was kept from destroying the city. The blaykia continues the story each day filling the boy’s spiritual and  physical thirsts three times.

Comments: This is the first time I have seen illustrations that included the use of  sugared green tea, a heat gun, and fire. The illustrations are superbly done and enhanced the folktale’s magic.  I learned how a blaykia uses the oral tradition of storytelling with the audience sitting in a balka(circle, ring) around the blaykia as he/she recites the story from memory usually stopping just at the climax or interesting part to lure the audience to come again another day to hear the continuation. This is a must for any folklore library or home collection especially with its rich and stunning illustrations which can be better understood with this link of the making of the illustrations by Evan Turk himself.    There is a book trailer as well.  I see this book as a definite Caldecott contender.