The Beautiful Rat
Here is Kaethe Zemach's approach to the classic tale about parents finding the best mate for a beautiful daughter. The approach here may be unusual for choosing rats rather than mice. Their daughter Yoshiko is well known in the rat world for her beauty, her running, and her leaps. In this version, Yoshiko's father prefers a gentleman rat, but her mother thinks her too special for such a marriage. Yoshiko does not care; she spends her time playing with friends, including a musician named Toshio. After a good deal of arguing between husband and wife, they travel with Yoshiko to the sun. Mother proclaims to the sun that they are looking for a very great husband for Yoshiko. The sun says that he has no time to get married. If they want the greatest husband, they should consider the cloud, who is stronger than he. In this version, the cloud then happens to appear, as the wind does after him. The wind answers that he spends all his time rushing around and so would not be a good husband. He introduces them to the stone wall, at which they happen to have arrived with the wind's blowing. Yoshiko leaps and shouts that she will not marry the old stone wall. Despite hurt feelings, the wall understands and asks why she would marry a wall when she can have a rat for a husband. They nibble holes right through him. Everyone is happy with this resolution, and Yoshiko marries Toshio. The illustrations feature blue and orange in various shades. The book has a library binding, and is ex libris from the Milwaukee Public Library.
Four Winds Press