Learn the story behind the Chinese calendar in ‘No Year of the Cat’


NoYearofCatNO YEAR OF THE CAT,” by Mary Dodson Wade and Nicole Wong, Sleeping Bear Press, Dec. 1, 2012, $16.95 (ages 6 and up)

The Emperor has a problem — people can’t recall one year from the next. How will people remember the auspicious year the prince was born?

The only solution — to have a race. The first 12 animals to cross the great river will each have a year named for them. It’s not just the Emperor that thinks it’s a good idea. The animals do, too.

But Rat knows he’s too small for the rushing waters, so he devises a plan where Ox will carry over him and Cat. Only Rat has plans to make it over in first place and they don’t include Cat.

“No Year of the Cat” is based on a story author Mary Dodson Wade encountered on a trip to Taiwan. The story had been translated from Chinese and was found with other stories dating back to the 13th century. The story explained in basic terms why there is no Year of the Cat in the Chinese calendar and Mary built her own tale upon it.

“No Year of the Cat” features beautiful watercolor illustrations that are intricate and colorful. The animals are lifelike and expertly rendered, adding to the book’s appeal. And the story is one children and their parents should equally enjoy. The book would make for a fun family project, with each family member researching what year they were born and matching it to its corresponding animal.

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About Author

Jessica Harrison is the main reviewer behind Cracking the Cover. Prior to creating Cracking the Cover, Jessica worked as the in-house book critic for the Deseret News, a daily newspaper in Salt Lake City. Jessica also worked as a copy editor and general features writer for the paper. Following that, Jessica spent two years with an international company as a social media specialist. She is currently a freelance writer/editor. She is passionate about reading and giving people the tools to make informed decisions in their own book choices.

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