[alert variation=”alert-info”]Publisher: Karadi Tales Picturebooks
Formats: Paperboak
Purchase: Powell’s | Amazon | Barnes & Noble[/alert]

Akiro is a young Japanese boy who is obsessed with drawing the perfect cat and he works on his drawings all day, every day. His parents don’t understand his obsession and send him to a temple to become a priest, but while he is there, he finally draws perfect cats, and when his cat drawings come to life in the night to save the temple from a demon, Akiro becomes a hero.

This book has a simple story that makes an easy and beautiful way to introduce young children to the folklore of other cultures. The art style is very appropriate to the book, resembling ink drawings on parchment, and has lots of little details that kids can pick up on repeated viewings – see if they can find the hidden cats on certain pages! Although the art style also heightens the creepiness of the pivotal scene where Akiro discovers the dead demon, and the cat drawings with blood-splattered faces and paws might be a little scary for very young readers. But the book’s message is a good one: art is a worthwhile pursuit and can even save the day. That’s something worth passing on to budding artists.

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