The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac

Christopher Corr. Francis Lincoln, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-78603-065-8
Corr (Deep in the Woods) retells an old Chinese legend: the Jade Emperor announces that he will name a year after the first 12 animals to cross the river, and the animals set off. Each creature crosses in a different way according to its personality. The ambitious rat abandons the cat he promised to wake, hitches a ride on an ox, sings to entertain the patient beast as it swims, then dashes off so he can be first. (The cat misses out on the awards altogether, which is why cats always chase rats.) Corr’s vignettes and spreads blaze with color, and his folk-art-style paintings give the figures sinuous contours and stylized eyes. Against backgrounds of contrasting colors, the animals seem to pop off the page. The emperor’s yellow robe is elaborately decorated, and, in his cheerful realm, the sun and the moon look down on grassy fields and pagodas from above. The China conveyed on these pages is a product of the imagination, but the legend is authentic, and it offers sturdy scaffolding for Corr’s striking artwork. Ages 3–6. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/06/2017
Release date: 01/01/2018
Genre: Children's
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