Charlesbridge. Aug. 2019. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781580896825.
K-Gr 3–A story of failure, persistence, and redemption. It is narrated by a stray kitty who has been accepted as a mouse catcher in a sumo wrestlers’ heya (training camp) and offers parallel stories that illustrate the saying “fall down seven times; get up eight.” Facing repeated failure, both the cat and the wrestler employ traditional sumo moves and philosophy (which readers learn about throughout) to vanquish their opponents; bold mice for the cat and the champion rikishi for the wrestler. Biedrzycki’s gorgeous digital artwork evokes a mashup of traditional Japanese illustration and popular animation. Full bleed spreads depicting the heya and its inhabitants alternate with sequential panels of the action. Definitions for Japanese terms are provided out of the line of sight of the narrative. There may be some dissonance between the intended audience and readers who will be able to sit still for the book; the narrative is deceptively simple, as the spare prose goes beyond the length of an average picture book.
VERDICT An expository tribute to the sumo wrestling culture, an additional purchase for most libraries

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