I am Tama, Lucky Cat

Heinrichs, Wendy & Yoshiko Jaeggi (illustrator). I Am Tama, Lucky Cat: A Japanese Legend (2011). 32 Pages. Peachtree Publishers. $16.95

This review is pre-release. It is due out August 1, 2011.

When I joined NetGalley.com, I spent ages scouring the books, looking for those which looked interesting. Luckily for me, I found I am Tama, Lucky Cat, fairly quickly. I am big on mythology from around the world– especially Japanese, as I was an East Asian Studies minor– so I was excited to get to see this book early*.

The Story:

Tama the Calico– and therefore Lucky– cat went in search of shelter. She was lucky enough to find a caring monk in a worn down temple. To gain entrance, she sat in front of the doorway with her paw held up in traditional maneki neko pose. She brings happiness to the monk, and one day brings him luck as her beckoning saves a wandering lord. He becomes the patron of her temple, and everyone’s luck improves.

The Illustrations:

The illustrations were well balanced to the story, with soft colors and nice composition. It is the sort of storybook which is mellow enough to make good bedtime reading.


I’m always excited to see children’s books exploring mythology, especially when they do it well. With lovely illustrations, and simple-but-effective vocabulary, this book manages to convey the story in a way which kids will relate to. In the back of the book is a brief note with some information on the legend, including speculation as to which temple and which lord the legend may be about.

I’ll give this one a solid 4/5; I really liked it, and was impressed, though I was not completely blown away.


* Disclosure: I received my copy free from the publisher through NetGalley.com


Filed under Book Review, Children's Fiction, Fairy Tales Retold

4 responses to “I am Tama, Lucky Cat

  1. Ela

    That sounds really cute – I might have to get it for my nephew!


  2. I write fantasy adventure novels and my latest is entitled, Legend of the Tengu Prince. It has several Japanese mythological references in it. I have some sample chapters at http://is.gd/YBfvn8. It will be available in-full on Smashwords and Amazon.com soon. I would love to have you come by and read the sample chapters to see what you think.

    I also have a blog entitled: “Mysterious Japan” at http://is.gd/NOq2Bo that you might enjoy as well.


    • The prologue makes it sound interesting enough, but I’m having major issues reading chapters one and two because of all of the gigantic pictures which break the text up. If you have a clean copy with just text and no pictures/hyperlinks to wikipedia, I’d be willing to look again.


  3. Thank you for your honest evaluation of my blog. I wanted the pictures to help people with any cultural problems they might have, but I didn’t want them to interfere with the enjoyment of reading the story. I have now placed the pictures at the bottom of the blog so they don’t impede the story.


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