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The Funny Little Woman
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The Funny Little Woman

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  2,018 ratings  ·  194 reviews
A giggly lady from Japan chases a rolling rice dumpling and is captured by a fearsome oni. 1973 Caldecott Winner
Paperback, 40 pages
Published February 14th 1993 by Puffin (first published 1972)
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Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakMake Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskeyThe Snowy Day by Ezra Jack KeatsThe Polar Express by Chris Van AllsburgThe Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
Caldecott Medal Winners
47th out of 77 books — 290 voters
The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry PinkneyWhere the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakFlotsam by David WiesnerMadeline by Ludwig BemelmansMake Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
List for #nerdcott
151st out of 327 books — 33 voters

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Community Reviews

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I have been reading many folktales from Japan for many years now, but if there was one Japanese folktale that I was pleasantly surprised in liking, it would be “The Funny Little Woman,” retold by Arlene Mosel along with illustrations by Blair Lent and has won the Caldecott Medal. This story is truly fun and fascinating to read for anyone who is a fan of Japanese folktales!

In this story, there was once a little woman who had the habit of laughing at every single thing. One day, she was making he
This book was kind of random. It's called The Funny Little Woman, but they never did explain why she was so funny, she laughed a lot, but that's not really very funny. When reading this book and the funny little woman is running after her rice ball, I am wondering why she is not heeding the advice of all the statues, warning her of the evil Oni, wouldn't you at least take that into account and just go home to make another rice ball? I didn't really see the point of this story, it was kind of wei ...more
I read this to students K-6 grade. I told them to watch for the second story-line told just in the illustrations involving a little man and his dog. We discussed the wordless scene when the little woman arrives at the house where the wicked Oni live. I asked them to tell me what the artist did to show the reader that it was underground. Their replies: "There are tree roots." "You can tell its dark because the lanterns are glowing." "He used the color of dirt, brown not black." And my favorite, f ...more
Shoaa Aljohani
My review for this book will look at both the positive and negative aspects.Firstly,in terms of positive it is a funny story as the cover shows it attracts the attention of children in terms of intended audience the book is aimed at kids 5-12 years of age.The main character is from Japan so the glimpse into her world promotes cultural awareness.The author used both narrative and dialogue,which is a very important point for each story.It is enjoyable,not prolonged the plot is feast-paced complete ...more
Jade Lovgren
I loved this book when I was girl, and my children have enjoyed it too. It's a great story read aloud with an animated voice. Be creative in your storytelling, your children will love it.
After reading "Funny Little Woman", I found the story to be entertaining. The woman in the story loses her dumplings and attempts to get them back but falls into a hole on the ground. The illustrations in the story also got my attention where the main focus of the story is in color (the lady underground and dealing with the onis), whereas the less focus of the story is in black and white (the lady's house above the ground). As the story progresses, the seasons changes and you can see the lady's ...more
Samantha Zimmerman
Arlene Mosel retells a story about a Japanese lady who loves to laugh and make rice dumplings in The Funny Little Woman. The little Woman loses one of her special dumplings when it rolls away and down a hilly road lined with statues of the gods. The little woman travels after the dumping meeting the different gods and being warned not to go any further for the wicked Oni lives at the end of the road. In the end she is captured by the Oni and is forced to move infinity amount of rice for them. Th ...more
Keani Meier
The Funny little woman
by Arlene Mosel
This book takes place with an Eastern style of drawing coming from Japan. Most of the colors were dark brown and green which gives it a dark feel to the story. While little woman was the only one dressed in bright colors known as a red rope which made her noticeable, appealing, and understandable.
A little old lady was make dumplings, than her the dumpling fell of the table and down a crack. The earth gave out and the little lady fell down a whole to ancient
Mar 01, 2010 Dolly rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a funny little story, tee he he he, about a little old woman who outsmarts some wicked oni. It's an interesting story, and thankfully the illustrations do not portray the oni as being too scary. Otherwise, it might not have been a good choice to read at bedtime. Our girls liked the story, especially how the old woman laughs all the time.
This is a Japanese folktake about a "funny little woman" who find herself in a bit of trouble after she decides to chase one her rice dumplings that rolled away out of her kitchen one day. As I started to read the story, I thought is was going to be a different version of "The Gingerbread Man" but it turned out to be quite different.
Adam Donald
There is a little woman that lives in Japan and makes rice dumplings. One day one of her dumplings rolls away and falls into a hole. She chases it down and into the world of the Oni (Monsters). The Oni captures her and forces her to make rice with a magic paddle that creates a pot of rice with only one grain. After a long time in captivity the woman tries to escape across the river with the magic paddle since the Oni can’t swim. They try to stop her by drinking the river water but the funny litt ...more
Mitzy Rodriguez
To get a better image of what the surroundings look like the illustrations are needed. If the text was only available it would not give a very vivid description of the setting. During the idle of the tale, they main character was in a different world, in order to display that the illustrator used the same colors. The colors consisted of brown, green and yellow; I believe those colors were good because if we think what is underneath us I picture lots of sludge and slime which happen to be the col ...more
This story is about a woman who loses her rice dumpling while she was making them. Her dumpling rolled down the hill, so the funny woman goes to look for her dumpling and she keeps laughing while she is looking for the dumpling. She then gets taken by the wicked Oni, the Oni wanted the funny woman because he loved rice dumplings and he wanted her to make them for him. But the funny woman wanted to get away so she escapes Oni’s house when he is not around and goes back to her house. This book is ...more
Casey Richard
The Funny Little Woman was making dumplings when one of them rolled out of her kitchen and into an unknown hole in the ground. She went into the hole and realized she was in a ‘new world’ that she had never known before. She meets the scary Oni, whom brings her back to his house. She was given one grain of rice and a magic spoon that multiplied the grains to create enough rice to feed the house full of Onis. After the woman had spent many days at the Oni’s house, she decided to escape, taking th ...more
Lauren Richards
The Funny little Woman is retold by Arlene Mosel and illustrated by Blair Lent. This book was the 1973 Caldecott Medal Winner. The story takes place in Old Japan. This book is about a little woman who drops a dumpling down a hole and goes to get it. On her journey she encounters a Japanese monster called oni and has to find a way to get back. The illustrations are done so well and complements the story perfectly. This book could be used in a classroom to talk about other cultures and mythology. ...more
This one was okay. I love seeing how stories are the same and still different in other cultures. For more:
Phally Pech
The Funny Little Women tells a tale of a story about a women who loves to laugh and make dumplings. One day, as she was making dumplings, one of her dumplings fell and rolled away. As she chased her dumpling, it led her to an adventurous journey. On this journey, she encounters live statues of Gods, and the wicked Oni. Once the Oni had encounter the old women, The Oni captured her and took her to their home. As the journey continues, the funny little women was able to escape at last.

This book i
Very clever illustrations that include the funny little woman's house while she is away underground cooking for the evil oni.
Jan 24, 2014 Emily rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: january
This book is so nostalgic for me. My parents used to read this to me when I was little and I absolutely loved it when my dad would say, "Tee hee hee" in his impression of the funny little woman. Besides the element of nostalgia, I loved this book because of the beautiful Japanese-style art artwork and the gumption of the woman in the story. She has no fear! I'm not saying that she's exactly a great role model for kids, (I mean she completely ignores the warnings that were given to her) but she f ...more
Jan 28, 2013 Relyn rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: children
Recommended to Relyn by: I love TIki Tiki
It's not TikiTiki, but it's still fun and worth reading.
A cute bedtime story
Susie White
The Funny Little Woman by Arlene Mosel is a story about a Japanese woman who follows one of her dropped rice dumplings down into a hole. On her search for the dumpling, the funny little woman encounters the oni who are monsters that hold her captive. As their hostage, she is forced to cook rice for them every day with a magic paddle that turns one grain of rice into a whole pot. The title of the funny little woman comes into play as she continuously laughs throughout the story “tee-hee-hee,” inc ...more
Anna Reid
The Funny Little Woman is about a woman in Japan who loved to laugh. When she was cooking her rice dumplings, one fell into a hole and into the ground. She went to look for it when the whole floor fell right out from under her. She ended up on an odd road full of statues and in order to find her road she asked each statue if they had seen her dumpling. They all warned her that is she continued to look for her dumpling she would run into the monster oni, but she was not afraid. When she finally f ...more
This is definitely an entertaining story, with some comical moments that readers of any age truly will be able to appreciate. The funny little woman of the title isn't really bad or good, yet her unusual journey will intrigue readers and keep them wondering how it will all end.

Chasing a wayward dumpling into a crack in the ground, the woman finds herself in an underground passageway that is lined on either side by statues of the Japanese gods. These statue gods warn her that a dastardly "Oni"
A little woman lives in Japan and makes dumplings out of rice while she laughs "Tee-he-he-he." One day a dumpling falls into a hole in the floor and she follows it down into the Earth. Despite being warned she follows the dumpling to the end of the path where a wicked oni is waiting. He takes her home and has her cook for all the wicked onis. She is given a magic paddle that helps her make more rice dumplings at a time. After a while the little woman misses her house and tries to escape. The wic ...more
The Funny Little Woman retold by Arlene Mosel, pictures by Blair Lent, is the tale of a dumpling making Japanese woman whose underground chase for a dumpling leads to her capture by a wicked oni and, eventually, to making a fortune.

Lear's Caldecott Medal winning (1973), detailed illustrations evoke the Asian setting of this story. Yellow, brown and green hues dominate, while the little woman's red kimono draws the eye to her. Present action is shown in color, while Lent shows the little woman's
The Funny Little Woman is about a giggling woman who loves to cook and one day she is cooking and her dumpling falls and rolls down the hill. She chases after the dumpling eventually she falls as well. She comes across these big statues(Gods). They warn her to stay away from the head of them all the wicked Oni. The little lady just laughs and proceeds on. The Oni eventually finds her and to their surprise he wants to take her home and have her cook for them. He gives her a magic spoon that will ...more
Erika Gregory
The Funny Little Woman illustrated by Blair Lent portrayed the life of a young Japanese woman through her pictures. The illustrations therefore, are very depicted of the Japanese culture. The young woman is dressed in Japanese clothing and is located within a Japanese like structure. However, the part I found most interesting was the way the illustrator made the reader look at specific parts of the page first before seeing other things. The story begins in her home and follows her journey as she ...more
The Funny Little Woman is the Caldecott Medal winner of 1973. It is about a persistent little lady who is always laughing “Tee-he-he-he” and enjoys making dumplings out of rice. One day, one of her delicious little rice dumplings goes rolling out of her house and onto its very own crazy adventure. Determined not to lose that dumpling the funny little woman follows after it, getting herself in quite the pickle when she becomes captured by the oni (wicked underground people who love rice dumplings ...more
Jenni Kemling


"The Funny Little Woman", is a Japanese folktale. It tells the story of a woman who while cooking dumplings loses one and goes on a chase to find it. She falls into the Earth and is greater by statues of the Gods. They all tell her not to venture any further for the evil "Oni" (creatures) await. She laughs at their warnings and continues on until she eventually meets up with the creatures. The oni force the woman to bake with a magical paddle that doubles the rice she makes for dumpling
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Arlene Tichy Mosel was a American author of children's literature who was best-known for her illustrated books Tikki Tikki Tembo, a retelling of a Chinese folk tale, and the award-winning The Funny Little Woman, which was the recipient of the Caldecott Medal for illustration in 1973.

She was born as Arlene Tichy on August 27, 1921, in Cleveland, Ohio to Edward J. Tichy, an engraver and Marie Fingul
More about Arlene Mosel...
Tikki Tikki Tembo Strega Nona and Other Stories from Near & Far [with Headphones]

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