Rating: 5 stars
“No Year of the Cat” by Mary Dodson Wade and illustrated by Nicole Wong is a lovely retelling of a Chinese folktale explaining why the Chinese calendar features the animals it does — and no cat. The illustrations are beautiful — pastel with an Eastern feel.
The emperor decides he needs to find a way to remember the auspicious year when his son was born. He decides to have a contest in which animals will race across a river. The first twelve to reach the other side will have a year named after them.
Many animals compete in the contest. The story tells of cat and rat, friends, who hitch a ride on ox. Through trickery, rat pushes cat off ox. Cat arrives after twelve other animals and does not get to be included among the calendar animals.
And that is why, to this day, cat hates rat.
Children will enjoy reading the folktale and discussing why it’s considered a folktale. Any teacher doing a unit on folktales should make sure this is included in the unit.
Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publisher, Sleeping Bear Press, for review purposes.