of the legendary animals’ race that led to the twelve
signs of the Chinese Zodiac is illustrated utilizing a Chinese
painting technique that makes the picture book a joy to read
and look at.
The tale opens when the Jade Emperor, ruler of heaven and
Earth, challenges the animals to a race. “The first
twelve animals to cross the river will each have a year named
after them,” he announces.
With the challenge issued, the animals are off, but each one
will have to find a way of using his own gifts to cross the
water obstacle. While the strongest, like the tiger and ox,
can swim across the river, the others must be more creative.
Rabbit finds a log to hold on to so that he can float across
while rooster makes a raft and allows monkey and goat to hitch
a ride. Rat, cat and snake all hitch rides on other animals
while dog and pig get distracted and are almost left out of
One animal isn’t in the group of twelve critters that
make it across first, so it is left out. Do you know which
animal this is? You’ll discover that this animal was
betrayed by another and so, to this day, they are lifelong