'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 15 August 2011

Review: The Race for the Chinese Zodiac

The tale of the Chinese Zodiac is a fascinating one, deeply woven with Chinese folklore and culture.

It all began when Jade Emperor, ruler of Heaven and Earth declared a race for the animals. The first twelve animals to cross the river would achieve the prestige of having a year named after them.

The animals lined up along the river bank and waited for the Emperor's gong.

Tiger leapt fearlessly into the river, followed closely by Rabbit, who held onto a floating log. Cat and Rat traversed the river together (as they did everything together, you see), hitching a ride on Ox.

Dog got caught up playing in the shallows and lucky Rooster found a raft. Monkey and Goat helped him get it afloat. Horse plunged straight on in - and clever Snake twirled himself in Horse's mane. Pig decided eating was more important and fell asleep in the mud, while powerful Dragon took off into the sky.

So, who do you think made it first? The answer might surprise you.

A glorious folktale with a wonderful ending, The Race for the Chinese Zodiac includes annotations on the Chinese years and their meanings, and is resplendent with stunning illustrations that blend traditional elements with the modern.

This book is a joy and would be fascinating for kids of all backgrounds.

Title: The Race for the Chinese Zodiac
Author: Gabrielle Wang

Illustrator: Sally Rippin and Regine Albos
Publisher: Black Dog Books, $24.99 RRP
Publication Date: February 2010
ISBN: 9781742031231
Format: Hard cover
For ages: 6 -12
Type: Picture Book