THE BEAUTIFUL RAT by Kaethe Zemach


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Zemach's reworking of old folk-tale material is set in Japan, where a proud mother rat decides that no one short of the sun would make a suitable mate for her daughter. But the sun refers the rats instead to the cloud, who eclipses him; the cloud notes that the wind can blow him away; the wind is stopped by a wall; and the wall--hurt when young Yoshiko refuses to marry it--admits that a rat, ""whose sharp teeth can nibble holes right through me,"" would make a finer husband. Zemach's blue and mustard-colored pictures are a sometimes sprightly, sometimes inharmonious mix of busy pattern with Japanese art elements and design motifs, and of the monumental personified elements with the frisky, dressedup rats (whose bodies, it must be noted, tend to look like frogs'). In any case the rats tumble and kick with the Zemach family energy, which keeps the pictures in lively if sometimes adventitious motion.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1979
Publisher: Four Winds