BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE
AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH
The sumo wrestlers (rikishi) live in their training center (heya) with a stray cat. The cat found his way in and steals food when he can, but when the housekeeper (Okamisan) catches the cat, she puts him to work. He can eat with the men, but he has to chase away the mice. But when the mice are gone, the kitty gets fat, so the mice return. Now, he must learn to focus and fight like a sumo to keep his job.
Magnificent full page illustrations paired with the comic facial expressions of the kitty and others make this a delightful read. And, the lesson "Fall down seven times; get up eight" is a great way to talk about disappointment and working hard to get something you want. Biedrzycki teaches the proper Japanese words (with pronunciation), and we get a glimpse of the culture and traditions of Sumo. Wonderful!