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Introduces the Chinese zodiac, relates how each of its twelve signs was named for an animal, and explains the qualities associated with each animal and what animal rules the year in which the reader was born
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This pourquoi or explanatory tale from China gives one version of how animals became associated with the Chinese calendar, and explains why the Cat and Rat are enemies. It seems that Buddha, having decided to give each year a name, proceeds to get ill. To keep himself company he invites all the animals of China to visit. Three apsaras, or flying magical women, are sent to the far reaches of the country, the central farmlands, the mountains and rivers of the Southwest, and the northern grassy plains, where they summon 13 animals to Buddha's home. The text introduces each animal with a short paragraph or a simple line or two by giving them individual characteristics, such as the Pig who dreams of supper or the Hare who dreams of the moon. Water Buffalo then starts the journey with the others following, except Cat, who is left by Rat napping by the stove. As they approach Buddha's home, he names the years after them in the order in which they arrive. Clever Rat, who steals a ride on Water Buffalo's back, is the first to be thus honored, on down the line and ending with Pig. Only Cat, who's still sleeping at home, gets left out. The illustrations bring the text to full life. The steady pace of the tale is complemented by dynamic, bright watercolor paintings which use a bold, black line to create the look of ancient woodcuts, or even stained glass. Notes of interest by both the writer and artist are included, as is a list of the animals and their qualities and the years they represent, starting with 1948. Readers will be drawn into the pages of this book by both the ideas presented and the art created. -- From Independent PublisherFrom School Library Journal:
Kindergarten-Grade 3?Early Chinese astronomers devised a zodiac based on a repeating 12-year cycle, with each year in the cycle named for an animal. Variant stories explain why the cycle starts with the year of the Rat, continues through ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, and the rest, and ends with the year of the Pig. Usually, a deity sets up a contest to decide which animals, and in what order, will represent each year. Here, it is an unwell Buddha. Confined to his bed, he sends flying female messengers to invite animals from various regions to visit him. Their order of arrival will determine the order of years. Brightly colored watercolor illustrations inspired by frescoes on the caves of Dunhuang and by the vibrant lines of Chinese woodcuts show animals from varied ecosystems answering the call. Only the cat remains at home by the fire. This story represents Chinese tradition more accurately than David Bouchard's The Great Race (Millbrook 1997), and offers a better story and more compelling art than Clara Yen's Why Rat Comes First (Children's Book Pr., 1991) or Monica Chang's Story of the Chinese Zodiac (Pan Asian Publications, 1994). Libraries owning Ed Young's darkly elegant Cat and Rat (Holt, 1995) should consider this new and very different version as an alternate and interesting comparison to the earlier book. Whitfield provides an informative source note and a chart of the animal signs and their characteristics. An illustrator's note, documenting the inspiration for the art, is also appended.?Margaret A. Chang, North Adams State College, MA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Interlink Pub Group Inc, 1999. Condition: New. Philippa-Alys Browne (illustrator). book. Seller Inventory # M1566563291
Book Description Interlink Pub Group Inc, 1999. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P111566563291
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # STR-1566563291