Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat

I always enjoy a good folktale with a lesson to be learned. As a librarian I am constantly reading the books in the library. Sometimes I feel like I have read so many books that it is impossible for me to find ones I haven’t read. The truth is that our small library will always have books that remain a mystery to me because I haven’t opened their pages.

The other day a first grader was diligently looking for a certain book. A junior high student happened to be in the library at the time and took the first grader under her wing. You see, the first graders just learned how to look up books on the computer. They haven’t yet mastered the steps beyond searching for a book. It can be quite confusing to have to choose a book and then locate the call number. By the time this first grader decided on the book it was almost time to go. The junior high student helped him locate the book just as we were lining up. Now, our poor little first grader, who spent such a long time looking for the book really wanted to read it. We weren’t checking out that day and I had another class coming in. So the junior high student suggested he ask if I could save the book. Meekly I was asked if the book can be saved. Of course I said yes!

So what is the point? Well, the book has been sitting on my desk for a few days now and I just realized I myself, have never read this particular book. Just looking at the cover I can see why our little first grader was so interested in Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat. The artwork is done in the Chinese style. The colors are vibrant and expressive. There are many details on each page that highlight cute Chinese, Siamese kittens.

The story is about an ancient Chinese cat family that was forced to work for an unhappy Magistrate. This sad Magistrate made the townspeople very unhappy by passing laws that made their lives difficult and miserable. Finally, things turn around when Sagwa, one of the kittens, accidentally changes a new law for the better. The townspeople are so thankful they express their joy to the Magistrate who in turns grows a happy heart. Sagwa is celebrated and all learn that the road to happiness is paved with good deeds.

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