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The Cat's Tale: Why the Years Are Named for Animals Hardcover – December 23, 2008


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Hardcover, December 23, 2008
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; First Edition edition (December 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596432020
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596432024
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 8.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,674,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1–3—Willow's grandmother tells the story of the 12 animals for whom the years in the Chinese calendar are named, unfortunately omitting Cat's role. When the child's cat, Mao, scratches Nai Nai and she pushes the animal off her lap, Willow and Mao become angry and head upstairs. Mao becomes Cat and tells how the Jade Emperor once invited 13 animals to a race. Dragon flies with Rabbit and Rooster on his back. Rat and his friend Cat sit on Ox as he and the other animals plunge into the river. Rat pushes Cat, who never learned to swim, into the water. By clawing his way onto a jutting rock, Cat watches as Rat jumps ashore ahead of Ox and wins. After Mao explains why the Year of the Rat comes first and why Cat and Rat are enemies, the little girl and her Nai Nai make up their disagreement. So's bright watercolor paintings bring the human characters to life against a pure white background, while traditional Chinese motifs and a subdued palette set the animals in the race apart. More pages are given to Willow, Mao, and Nai Nai than to the actual Chinese legend, and this tale-within-a-tale framework may be confusing to young readers. A simpler retelling is Dawn Casey's The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac (Barefoot, 2006). Nevertheless, youngsters will enjoy listening to this story and seeing the beautiful watercolor illustrations.—Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

DORIS ORGEL is the author of, among many titles, MY MOTHER’S DAUGHTER, BREMEN TOWN MUSICIANS, and THE DEVIL IN VIENNA (Bank Street Award for Best Book of the Year). She lives in New York City.

 

MEILO SO is a widely renowned artist of children’s books. She lives in England.

 


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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By MotherofZ on February 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We actually really love this book. I admit, the writing grew on me as I had to read it over and over again, upon request, to our daughter who just loved the story (including the little girl with the sassy attitude). The style and rhythm of the prose actually reminded me a lot of the classic Vera William books which are well-loved in our house. My personal favorite however is the artwork in this book--it's colorful and vibrant and beautiful!
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By V. T. on February 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book to my daughter last night since it is Chinese New year. I love the drawing in the book and the story about the cat. The only thing is I do not care for the attitude of the little girl in the book. And how the grandma has to go out of the way to get the granddaughter to forgive her. I don't see the grandma did anything wrong.
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Format: Hardcover
This is another story of how the animals got their place in the Chinese zodiac. Mao is Willow's cat and when Willow's Nai-Nai comes to visit she reads her a book on how the animals got their positions in the Chinese zodiac. Mao is upset because she knows a cat was there but was tricked by a rat and didn't make any of the 12 spots.

I'm not crazy about this book because Mao the cat gets angry and scratches Nai Nai and she calls Mao a nasty beast. Willow gets angry and tells her she's mean and that we're mad at you. Both Willow and Mao leave and go up to her room. All is forgiven in the end.

There are other books on the order of the Chinese Zodiac out there, this one just didn't sit right with me.
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