Week-end Book Review ~ The Year of the Snake; and The Year of the Dragon, by Oliver Chin and Jennifer Wood`

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

Book covers: The Year of the Snake; and The Year of the Dragon by Oliver Chin, illustrated by Jennifer Wood (Immedium)Oliver Chin, illustrated by Jennifer Wood,
The Year of the Snake: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac
Immedium, 2013;

The Year of the Dragon:.Tales from the Chinese Zodiac
Immedium, 2012.

Ages: 5-8

The latest two offerings in Oliver Chin’s series of Tales from the Chinese Zodiac, this year’s The Year of the Snake and last year’s The Year of the Dragon are welcome additions to this imaginative menagerie of endearing characters, whose stories embody the chief characteristics of each animal of the Chinese Zodiac in turn.

These are also tales of friendship and finding a place in the world…

Read the full review

Happy Chinese New Year!

Friday, February 8th, 2013

The Year of the Snake slithers in this weekend but have no fear! Ancient Chinese wisdom says a snake in the house is actually a good omen because it means that your family will not starve. The sixth sign of the Chinese Zodiac, the snake represents wisdom, intelligence and self-control. The snake also represents the ability to strike at will, quickly and powerfully. The Year of Snake promises to be a time of steady progress and attention to detail. Focus and discipline will be necessary for all of us to achieve what we set out to create.

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festival in the Chinese calendar and celebrations take place around the world . What better way to get into the spirit by reading some Chinese New Year children’s books! Here are a few books we’ve blogged about that we would definitely recommend:

Tales from the Chinese Zodiac series by Oliver Chin,

The Great Race / The Story of the Chinese Zodiac by Dawn Casey, illustrated by Anne Wilson;

The Day the Dragon Danced by Kay Haugaard, illustrated by Carolyn Reed Barritt

Fang Fang’s Chinese New Year by Sally Rippin

The Race for the Chinese Zodiac by Gabrielle Wang, illustrated by SallyRippin

Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat by one of my favorite authors Grace Lin. Be sure to visit Grace’s blog t0 read about her plans for bringing in the New Year with  her daughter Rain Dragon and to get some New Year crafts suggestions.

My Mom Is a Dragon and My Dad is a Boar and Hiss! Pop! Boom! by Tricia Morissey

Happy, Happy Chinese New Year! written and illustrated by Demi. Read our interview with Demi here and see our gallery of her stunning illustration work here.

And here’s a special kidlit New Year celebration  for those of you who live in San Jose, CA, USA.  Children’s author Oliver Chin will be reading from his new book The Year of the Snake: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac, on Feb. 19th at the Joyce Ellington Branch library. Details here.

Week-end Book Review: The Year of the Rabbit by Oliver Chin

Sunday, March 6th, 2011



Oliver Chin,
The Year of the Rabbit
Immedium, 2011.

Ages 4-8

Year 4071 of the Chinese lunar calendar was ushered in with the full moon on February 19 this year, and with it came the sixth in Immedium’s series of Tales from the Chinese Zodiac: The Year of the Rabbit.

People born in the year of the rabbit are said to be amiable and gentle, nimble and resourceful. They are known for having fine taste, good luck, and a forgiving nature. Such are the qualities embodied in Rosie, a long-eared (perhaps a little too long-eared) rabbit who befriends a human boy, Jai, when she is captured while sampling from his grandmother’s garden. Western traditions regarding rabbits (the Easter Bunny, lucky rabbit’s feet and being pulled from a hat) are addressed when the other animals from the farm (and from the Chinese zodiac) come by to meet Rosie. When Rosie’s parents come at night to break her out of the cage and bring her back to the burrow an anxious Jai follows with his dog and unwittingly alerts a sleeping tiger. Rosie hears his cry and comes to his rescue. All are ultimately saved when the tiger mistakes the horns of a sleeping dragon for Rosie’s ears and grasps them. In a moment of cultural confusion (Chinese dragons don’t breathe fire) the angered dragon chases the tiger away, shooting flames at his backside.

This bright and playful story makes the ancient tradition of the Chinese zodiac accessible to children everywhere. Justin Roth’s illustrations are in keeping with earlier titles in the series and reflect his background as an animator: the cartoon-like characters have exaggeratedly expressive faces that children will respond to. Kids will also have fun spotting all of the animals from the Chinese zodiac hiding in the pages of the book.

Comics expert and award-winning author Oliver Chin, who also wrote the first five Tales from the Chinese Zodiac books (illustrated by Jeremiah Alcorn and Justin Roth) as well as Timmy and Tammy’s Train of Thought, Baltazar and the Flying Pirates, and the graphic novel 9 of 1: A Window to the World, is, again, clearly in his element. The Year of the Rabbit is a timely way for the youngest readers to get acquainted with this aspect of Chinese tradition.

Abigail Sawyer

March 2011

Gung Hei Fat Choy! – Xin Nian Kuai Le! – Happy New Year!

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

yearoftherat.jpgWelcome, Year of the Rat!

To help you celebrate, here are a couple of new books we can recommend…

Grace Lin has a sequel just out to her delightful Year of the Dog – called, appropriately enough, Year of the Rat. We’ll have our own review of it soon, in the meantime, you can read what Grace herself says about it here.

You can read here about another new book by Grace, this time a picture-book called Bringing in the New Year. At the end of that post, Wild Rose Reader gives some good “Lunar New Year” links too.

And here are some more Chinese New Year picture books reviewed by PaperTigers:
The Year of the Rat: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac by Oliver Chin, illustrated by Miah Alcorn,;
The Great Race / The Story of the Chinese Zodiac by Dawn Casey, illustrated by Anne Wilson;
The Day the Dragon Danced by Kay Haugaard, illustrated by Carolyn Reed Barritt.

Do you have any special favorites you’d like to share with us?

…And a PS – do have a look at Grace Lin’s blog to read about her trip to China last month – there are some great photos too.