Here are my latest recommendations for the Northwest Asian Weekly:
NWAW’S February must-reads:
“The Year of the Rabbit, Tales from the Chinese Zodiac”
Written by Oliver Chin, Illustrated by Justin Roth
Immedium, Inc., 2011
Just in time for Chinese New Year comes the story of Rosie.
She’s not your average rabbit. For one, her ears are extra, extra long. She is overly curious about the world beyond her immediate surroundings. And despite her papa’s warnings, she and her friends sneak into a fenced-off garden and help themselves to someone else’s vegetables.
Unfortunately, they are caught and chased out of the garden. However, Rosie is not quick enough to escape. She is captured and becomes a pet to a boy named Jai. Once Rosie becomes his pet, she meets other animals from the Chinese zodiac. Rosie’s experiences disprove many assumptions that are made about rabbits before she makes her way back to the burrow with her family.
“The Year of the Rabbit” is Oliver Chin’s sixth book featuring animals from the Chinese zodiac. While this year’s is the rabbit, Chin’s story and Roth’s colorful illustrations also include the remaining 11 animals (I’m not sure how a tiger or a monkey could be living near a farm, but that’s OK).
With a short summary at the beginning and end about the zodiac circle, animals, and characteristics of rabbits, “Rabbit” is a great way of introducing children to the Chinese New Year. The story is light and fun as Rosie displays characteristics of the rabbit in order to get out of sticky situations.
The illustrations are also fun. The animals are cheerful and expressive and add to Chin’s story. My favorite picture is of Rosie standing on top of a TV on one leg with her ears bent. Jai gives her a “thumbs up” sign as the screen is no longer fuzzy.
While I missed “The Year of the Tiger” and the first three stories in the series, I read Chin’s “The Year of the Ox” and thoroughly enjoyed that story. And even though this may not be their year, if the “Rabbit” and “Ox” are anything to go by, I would have to say none of the tales from the Chinese zodiac should be missed.
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