The Jade Emperor has declared a great race: the first animals to cross the river will win a place in the Chinese Zodiac.
Thirteen animals line up along the shore, but there are only twelve places to be won. Who will miss out?
Having always wondered about the Chinese Zodiac and it's 60-year cycle, this book was a wonderful introduction into the mythos behind the 12 animals that make up the 'houses'.
The artwork is beautiful, and looks very traditional to my Western eyes, and even though it's not my ideal form of art, the precision and skill with which it is executed is still very apparent and worthy of appreciation.
The story itself is reasonably short - short enough to make for bedtime reading to little ones - but still covers the journey of all 13 animals, and gives insight into the personalities of the animals themselves, and thus the people they purportedly represent.
Overall, a stunning book and sturdy in it's hardcover format, it was a delight to read to my youngest son, and the eldest son also enjoyed it as self-guided reading too. Perhaps a little on the steep side price-wise, I still think it's a great book to have around if you have any interest in the Chinese astronomical studies... or just want something really different in the way of bedtime reading for the kids.
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