The Little Pigs and the Sweet Rice Cakes: A Story Told in English and Chinese

tr. from English by Yijin Wert. illus. by Li Jian. 42p. (Stories of the Chinese Zodiac). Better Link Pr. Oct. 2018. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781602204539.
RedReviewStarK-Gr 2—This bilingual picture book is successful both as a lighthearted folktale and an introduction to China's Minor Spring Festival, preceding Lunar New Year. When the middle sibling wakes up from a dream in which an old man tells him to make sweet rice cakes, all three pigs wish they could taste such a delicacy. Imagine their surprise when they return home later in the day to find a plate of the cakes cooling on the table! Predictably, the pigs devour the treats, and despite their dishonesty when their mother asks if they are responsible for the cakes' disappearance, they find satisfaction in making another batch of cakes. Throughout the story, English text is presented above Chinese text. A recipe for sweet rice cakes is included, along with a page of back matter with brief discussions of Lunar New Year, the Kitchen God, and the Chinese zodiac. The stylized illustrations fit the spare nature of the text, and astute readers will enjoy watching the pigs' painting of the Kitchen God change from page to page.
VERDICT The familiar moral structure of this tale and the bright illustrations will appeal to English- and Chinese-language readers alike.

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