Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Funny Little Woman

The Funny Little Woman
Retold by Arlene Mosel
Pictures by Blair Lent

My son and I went to a bookstore today while Pippi was at her art class.  And let me tell you, we came home with quite a haul.  Not in quantity.  We didn't find that many keepers, this being a familiar bookstore that we visit (ransack) frequently.  But the keepers we did find.  Oh my.

But you'll just have to wait for the next post or two to get a peak at our small stack (which incidentally contains a swoon worthy Garth Williams tidbit), because today The Funny Little Woman rises to the top of the stack.  If I passed over this one in favor some newbies, well that just wouldn't be doing the right thing by my little man.

This funny tale is his current favorite, so enamored is he that we laugh through the book at least four times daily.

Long ago, in Old Japan, there lived a funny little
woman who liked to laugh, "Tee-he-he-he," and who
liked to make dumplings out of rice.

I know this book so well I didn't even need to turn to the first page to know how the story begins.  And I wish that I could figure out how to put a sound recording on here, a recording of me reading the book.  Because you have to get that laugh just right.  And believe me, I've had lots of practice. 

So the story goes that the funny little woman was making a batch of rice dumplings when . . .
horror of horrors, one leetle dumpling fell from the table, rolled from her house, down through a crack, and into a subterranean shadowland.  Inhabited by stone statues of the gods

and the oni,

who take the funny little woman (who's still laughing) to their underground hideout and force her to cook rice with a magic paddle.  This is my son's favorite two page spread.  "It looks all green and slimy," he says.  "Like snot." 

Well, the lady laughs her way through a few more pages, paddling pots full of rice, until she decides she's had enough.  So she tucks the paddle into her belt, boosts an oni cruiser and rows toward daylight.

My son's other favorite page.  "They got fat!" he chuckles every time.  They got fat by sucking up all the water in the river, grounding the funny little woman.  This part reminds me a little of The Five Chinese Brothers by Clair Hutchet Bishop.  And just like the brother who can't hold the water forever, the oni "throw up" all the water (my sons words again) and the lady laughs all the way back home.

Where she gets rich making rice dumplings using her (stolen) magic paddle.  And lives happily ever after.

The end.

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