Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Awesome Books - The Year of the Horse, Tales from the Chinese Zodiac By Oliver Chin

I'm quite interested in Asian-American literature, especially for children, and I was very happy to come across this one.

My son took a free graphic novel class at the local library recently, and I bought this book from his instructor.

The title misled me somewhat in that I expected a more traditional tale of Chinese Zodiac focusing on the Horse. But it's not. 

It's about a boy named Tom and a filly named Hannah who are trying to figure out what their place on the farm is and what they'll be when they grow up. What I love about this books isn't what I thought I'd love - the Asian -American aspect of it. What I love about this books is that all the animals have their place on the farm, and they are happy and proud of what they contribute. 

But wait! There is a problem. 

A royal messenger (a rooster) brought a "request" from the Governor, and he is asking for a painting from Lao Shi. But she is old, and she can't take it to him herself. Quickly, Tom volunteers to help, and they set off to find someone to go with him.

After an extensive search, they think Hannah might be the perfect candidate for this trip. Before they go on this adventure, they practice working together by listening and learning from one another. 

Finally, Lao Shi finishes her painting, and Tom and Hannah are off to deliver the painting. On their journey, they leap over a snake, tiptoe past a sleeping tiger, and kept themselves dry in a cave during a rainstorm while a dragon circled in the sky.

When they arrive at the capital and deliver the painting, Tom and Hannah are treated to a wonderful dinner. But they want to come back home quickly; they miss their families. 

They enjoy their return trip, and when they arrive, everyone is happy to see them. Tom and Hannah continue to play together, but they also remember a very important lesson. 

They learned that they could "blaze their own trail."

So, I hope the children who read this book will be inspired to blaze their own trails.

P.S. - There are twelve animals in the Chinese Zodiac, and there are other books written by the same author. Others are just as whimsical and fun to read.