Cat and Rat: The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac (An Owlet Book) (Paperback)

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Apr 10, 2010 in Childrens Books | Subscribe

Cat and Rat: The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac (An Owlet Book)

From Publishers Weekly

Animals race for a place in the Zodiac in this “complex and well-told” Chinese folktale, said PW, praising the “striking” design and dark, scumbled charcoal and pastel art. Ages 3-7. Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3? In this version of the story behind the Chinese zodiac, the Emperor challenges all of the creatures to a race through forest and river, saying he will name each of the 12 years in the cycle after the winners. Rat and Cat, the best of friends, ask the water buffalo to carry them across the river. In sight of the finish line, Rat pushes Cat into the water and jumps off the buffalo’s back, coming in first. “And that is why, to this very day, Cat and Rat are enemies.” Young tells the story in lively, spare prose, and includes a chart of the signs and their characteristics. His charcoal and pastel drawings on dark blue and buff rice paper are elegant and full of action. Yet because of the somber colors, the pictures are hard to read, especially from a distance. Setting white type on black background only adds to the gloom. Monica Chang’s The Story of the Chinese Zodiac (Pan Asian, 1994), a bilingual import, illustrates the same story with paper sculptures that are brighter but more conventional, and without a chart connecting years to animals. Clara Yen’s Why Rat Comes First (Childrens, 1991) tells a different version, and provides chart signs and years with brief explanations of the characteristics. Since 1996 will be the Year of the Rat, schools and libraries planning Chinese New Year celebrations can use Young’s title, although the shadowed passion of his drawings forms an uneasy partnership with what is essentially a light trickster tale.?Margaret A. Chang, North Adams State College, MA
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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