Author: Margaret Read MacDonald
Artist: Julie Paschkis
Genre: Animals / Black Comedy / Manners / Payback
Year Published: 2001
Year Read: 2005
Publisher: August House Little Folk
Content Rating: Ages 5+ (Some Scary Moments and a Violent Image)
I have read almost every folktale from every country around the world, but I have rarely read any folktales from Denmark and this is one of the first folktales I have read from Denmark. “Fat Cat: A Danish Folktale” is a Danish folktale (as said in the title) that is retold by Margaret Read MacDonald along with illustrations by Julie Paschkis and it is about how a greedy cat ends up eating everything and everyone in his path! “Fat Cat: A Danish Folktale” is a truly hilarious tale that every child will love!
Now I had read an earlier version of this tale by Jack Kent many years ago, but it has been so long since I had read that version that I do not remember much about it, so I cannot really compare the two versions together in this review. In this version, Margaret Read MacDonald's writing is simple yet hilarious at the same time as she repeatedly uses the phrase stated by Cat:
“Oh, I'm meow, meow FAT!
Cause I'm a HUNGRY, HUNGRY CAT!”
And that phrase always cracks me up because the cat is always saying he is fat, but it is his way of warning people about how he could eat them up if they upset him. I also found the idea about a small cat eating everything in his path to be extremely odd yet interesting at the same time since there is no way that a small cat can eat everything up in a small amount of time and since this is a folktale, the oddity of the Cat's situation is to be expected. I really loved the character of Mouse as she is extremely resourceful especially during Cat's rampage and I loved how she resolved the problem at the end and despite Cat's greedy nature, Mouse always treats Cat with kindness which truly showed what a great friend she really is to Cat. Julie Paschkis' illustrations are extremely hilarious, especially of the orange cat growing bigger and bigger every time he eats something and how his green eyes are of different shapes since one eye is round while the other eye is narrow which sort of gives Cat a crazed look throughout the book. It was also interesting on seeing how the background is basically all white spaces which clearly made the characters stand out more in their situations.
Parents should know that the scenes with the cat eating everyone might upset smaller children, especially if small children do not like seeing scenes of people being eaten by some kind of creature. Also, there is a brief scene where someone is cut up ( although I will not reveal who it is) however, this scene is not that graphic and it probably would not be too troubling for children, but still parents should be mindful of this scene before they read this book to their children.
All in all, “Fat Cat: A Danish Folktale” is a truly wonderful book about the consequences of being too greedy and the importance of treating other people with respect that many children will learn from easily. I would recommend this book to children ages five and up due to the cat eating people up and due to the brief violent image.