A number of years ago I stumbled upon a series of children’s books, subtitled “Tales from the Chinese Zodiac“. There was a book for the Chinese New Year, and I eagerly bought the one for the Year of the Snake, glad to find something to help my then 3 year old daughter appreciate the coming Chinese New Year.
Fast forward to 2017 and the last of the series has come out, to celebrate the Year of the Rooster, a full dozen years after my own daughter was born in the last year of the Rooster, 2005. With a complete set of 12 published, you can now find a children’s book for every year/sign in the Chinese Zodiac.
My daughter was excited to read the latest Year of the Rooster installment, even though at 12 she’s a little older than the target audience, which is probably anywhere from 3 to 9 years of age. As with the prior books in the series, the main character (the Rooster in this case), goes on an adventure with a human sidekick, Ying.
We follow the Rooster’s journey as he tries to find the elusive and mythical phoenix by picking up clues throughout his journey. Along the way he collects feathers from the Phoenix in a variety of colors, while meeting all the other animals in the zodiac calendar.
At the end of his adventure, our intrepid hero completes his mission and finds and meets the phoenix, and convinces the phoenix to go home with him and meet his family. The young rooster also learns a lesson (in this case, to remember the pecking order, and to practice his writing/chicken scratch).
One interesting note to this latest book, and the one just prior to this (the Year of the Monkey), is that these two latest books both have the story in written in Chinese characters in addition to the English text (all the other 10 volumes are English only). But for parents who are trying to teach their kids traditional Chinese (as is found in Taiwan), these books may be a disappointment, as the characters are written and available with a translation in simplified Chinese (as is found in mainland China) only .
The stories are fun and whimsical, and appropriate as I mentioned for younger kids, although your older kids (like mine) might enjoy this book as well.
Disclosure: I was provided a pre-release copy of the book “The Year of the Rooster” for this review.