When I first spotted this little beauty in the window of The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop in Tetbury, I knew I would have to add it to my collection!
'The Great Race' tells the classic story of how the Chinese Zodiac was created. The Jade Emperor decides he needs to be able to measure time and so declares there will be a race between the animals with the winning twelve having years named after them.
Each animal's characteristics are praised or commented on by the Emperor as, one by one, they reach the end- except Cat who misses out as Rat failed to wake him., explaining why cats have chased rats ever since.
Brightly coloured pictures leap off the page as Corr uses contrasting colours to created bold, folk art style images. Pagodas and Chinese carp flourish under a beaming sun and the Emperor is splendid in his golden, decorated robes in this imaginative view of ancient China.
Traditional tales, folklore and legends are so important to keep alive and share and this is a delightful retelling to compare and contrast with other versions. The illustrations will encourage children to create their own paintings of their favourite animal or that of the year of their birth. They could find out more about the characteristics attributed to each animal and how well they match it!
However you celebrate, have a very happy Chinese New Year!
The Great Race Christopher Corr
Frances Lincoln ISBN: 978-176030658
A book list of traditional Chinese myths, legends and folklore will be available on the Members' section of the website soon.