Why Rat Comes First: A Story of the Chinese Zodiac

Clara Yen, Author, Hideto Yoshida, Photographer Children's Book Press (CA) $14.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-89239-072-4
High in the heavens, the Jade King announces he will invite all of the animals of China to a grand feast. But a gust of wind scatters the invitations, and the ruler does not know which animals will receive them. When only 12 show up at his celebration, the king decides to reward his guests by naming one of the 12 years in the calendar cycle after each of them. The creatures are honored, but two--Rat and Ox--both want the first year to carry their name. The Jade King lets the children on earth choose which one will come first in the cycle. A deft storyteller, Yen adds both grace and vivacity to this Chinese folktale. Her narrative's occasional, well-placed rhyme makes this an especially good choice for reading aloud. While Yoshida's sketchy ink and colored-pencil drawings are not quite as impressive, they possess a vibrant, somewhat old-fashioned panache. Included is a brief guide to the signs of the Chinese zodiac. Ages 6-up. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
Hardcover - 978-0-516-80072-1
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