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No Year of the Cat (Myths, Legends, Fairy and Folktales) Hardcover – Picture Book, December 1, 2012
The Emperor has a problem. He wants his people to remember the year in which his son was born. But there is no way to keep track of the years. So the Emperor devises a race in which animals will cross a river. The first twelve animals to reach the opposite side will have a year named after them. Thus, the people will be able to remember the years and the events that occurred. And so the race is set. Rat, knowing he is no match for the rushing water, schemes with Cat on how to cross the river. Together the two convince Ox to carry them across. But halfway across the river, Rat shows his true colors. Will Cat make it to the other side? Which animals will have a year named after them? Accompanied by exquisite watercolor artwork, this charming story explains the origins of the Chinese calendar.
From School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-The story of the Chinese zodiac is a popular folktale of friendship and betrayal, retold again and again in picture-book format. Since no one in the kingdom remembers when important events have occurred, the emperor decides to create a 12-year calendar. The first 12 animals to win the race across the kingdom's rushing river will provide the nomenclature. Wong's creative use of the landscape highlights the dynastic setting while borders around the text showcase the white-water race, emphasizing the cyclical nature of the calendar. The watercolor illustrations' overall deftness, panoramic views, and traditional sensibility will please children. The dynamic, humorous storytelling spotlights the role of the advisors. Readers get a strong sense of the Han emperor's daily routine, palace, and costume-as well as of his mirthful personality. Various traits also shine forth from the animals-the magnanimity of Ox, the honesty of Pig, and, of course, the treachery of Rat. A beautiful visual touch at the race's finale is the elated emperor holding an outstretched scroll with the names of the 12 victorious animals in both English and Chinese characters, animals huddled around. Don't miss the wonderful ideas in the online teaching guide either. That said, Ed Young's calligraphy-inspired, more abstractly illustrated version of the folktale, Cat and Rat (Square Fish, 1998), has superior back matter, including a timetable to determine in which animal year readers were born. This version, along with Young's classic, would make a thought-provoking, contrastive pairing.-Sara Lissa Paulson, The American Sign Language and English Lower School, New York Cityα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Wade takes a familiar story from Chinese culture and breathes fresh life into it. The prince has been born, and the emperor wants the year to be remembered. So he devises a race among the animals: the first 12 to cross the great river will have a year named for them. Several of the animals work together to cross: Sheep, Monkey, and Rooster share a raft, Dragon blows a strong wind to help Rabbit, and Ox agrees to carry friends Cat and Rat on his back. In fact, Rat is the first to cross the river and greet the emperor but only by treachery (he pushes Cat into the river). Cat is too late to be included among the 12, so her vengeance is taken by stalking Rat throughout the centuries. With lush illustrations by Wong, this intriguing story will draw in young readers and encourage them to think about culture and ask, “Why?” Grades K-2. --Melissa Moore
- Publisher : Sleeping Bear Press (December 1, 2012)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 32 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1585367850
- ISBN-13 : 978-1585367856
- Reading age : 6 - 9 years
- Grade level : 1 - 4
- Item Weight : 15.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 11.1 x 0.3 x 9.1 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,039,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 9, 2014
No Year of the Cat from Sleeping Bear Press is a familiar folk story about the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac and why there is no cat among them. It all starts with the emperor needing a way to remember time, when things happened, most notably the year the prince was born. His idea to name the years after animals results in a race with the winning animals making it into the ranks of becoming legacies in the calendar. Cute story and really beautiful illustrations.
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