The Animals of Chinese New Year

tr. by Kileasa Wong. 28p. Orca. Jan. 2019. Board $9.95. ISBN 9781459819023.
PreS–An adorable read-aloud for babies and toddlers based on the Chinese zodiac. Every 12 years, the Jade Emperor sets up a race between the animals of the zodiac for the honor to be the first in the 12-year calendar cycle. Each animal races according to its own personality. "The ox works hard to stay ahead …The rabbit chats to everyone along the way." Each spread features a full-page photograph of diverse babies, English text followed by Simplified Chinese, complemented by stylized traditional Chinese art. Taken together, the photographs are of varied quality and feel inconsistent across the entire book. However, this is a small blemish as the photos complement the text and illustrate each character trait well. Overall, the text and photos allow for an easy connection between adult readers and young listeners.
VERDICT While this book could be enjoyed at any time of year, it is a good fit for holiday displays, programming, and curricula.

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