Both author Gabrielle Wang and illustrator Sally Rippin in their short-yet-elegant story tells us of the making of the Chinese Zodiac through a race across a river set up by the Jade Emperor. With 13 animal contestants and only 12 available spots up for the taking, The Race for the Chinese Zodiac takes the reader on an emotional ride of anticipation and excitement all the way to the finish line.
With each animal given its own unique personality, there is no telling what kind of tricks each one of these animals has up their sleeve. What separates this folktale from other stories that have been passed down from generation to generation is how this story uses a back story of two of the unlikeliest of friends to tell of this old legend.
From animals that come in all different shapes and sizes and colors and abilities, there are many ways in which to achieve such a goal. This is more than just your average folktale, but a story about life’s lessons. It will leave the reader all the more curious about figuring out which animal they see in themselves. While other children books may have told this tale, Wang and Rippin’s version is especially unique. Not only do the ink paintings provide glimpses of ancient China, but the animals are also given a brief description about how they achieve great things that might seem impossible in response to the challenge of the Jade Emperor.
With each passing second of the race, the book engages the reader from both start to finish. The colorful pictures and large text on each page are perfectly crafted as there are no dull moments. This folktale is sure to entice the minds of young readers.