The Funny Little Woman
|The Funny Little Woman|
|Genre||Children's picture book|
|Publisher||E. P. Dutton|
|Dewey Decimal||398.2/0952 E|
|LC Class||PZ8.1.M8346 Fu|
The story is set in "Old Japan." The title character likes to laugh ("Tee-he-he-he") and make rice dumplings.
One day, one of her dumplings rolls down a hole. The funny little woman follows the dumpling and ends up in a strange place underground lined with Jizo (guardian statues). The Jizo warn her not to go after the dumpling because of wicked oni (monsters) who live there, but she does anyway. An oni grabs the woman and takes her in a boat across a river to the house of the oni.
The oni force the woman to cook rice for them. They give her a magic paddle to make a full pot of rice from a single grain. After many months with the oni, the woman becomes homesick, takes the magic paddle, and escapes on a boat. Because the oni cannot swim, they drink all the river water in an attempt to stop the woman. Her struggling to run in the river mud makes the oni laugh, which causes the water to flow back into the river, which allows the woman to finish crossing to the other side in the boat.
The funny little woman returns home, sells rice dumplings made with the magic paddle, and becomes "the richest woman in all of Japan."
- American Library Association: Caldecott Medal Winners, 1938 - Present. URL accessed 12 January 2013.
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