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Cat and Rat: The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac
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Cat and Rat: The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  94 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
To select the animals of the zodiac, the Jade Emperor has called for a race between all the animals.
Paperback, 32 pages
Published November 15th 1998 by Square Fish (first published 1995)
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(showing 1-30 of 183)
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Feb 16, 2016 Kaitlin rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite legends to read from the Chinese culture. I am going to read it to the students today in celebration of the Chinese New Year. Happy year of the Monkey!
Oct 01, 2013 Miriam rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture, mythology

Young illustrations are lovely, although the story itself (an explanation of the order of animals in the zodiac) kind of bummed me out. Why you gotta screw over your best friend like that, rat?
With simple images conveyed in powerful strokes, Mr. Young gives children the story of the Chinese Zodiac, focusing on the various aspects of the featured animals to put themselves on the list. But first and last in the story is how the deceitful rat tricked his former best friend in order to be first among the animals. The book also comes with helpful listings of all the animals in the zodiac, the personality traits of the people born in those years and an author’s note about how the zodiac is ...more
Katie Logonauts
This book opens with an author's note about the history and mythology of the Chinese zodiac, along with a listing of the animals, years, and their characteristics. In this version of the story, the Jade Emperor has declared a race as the deciding factor for zodiac inclusion. Best friends Cat and Rat hatch a plan together, but when Cat falls short of qualifying for the final 12, it explains why cats and rats today are enemies. The dark and loose illustrations for this book make it more difficult ...more
Alex Baugh
Feb 22, 2016 Alex Baugh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a Leo, so naturally I've always wondered why there is no cat in the Chinese zodiac and after reading this, now I know why. In this retelling, the Jade Emperor announces a race to fill up the 12 places on the Chinese calendar and that these 12 animals would each have a year named after them. Cat and rat, being friends, decided to work together to win a place on the calendar. Well, a rat is a rat is a rat... At the beginning of the story, there is a list of the 12 animals and their personality ...more
Cat and Rat are friends and desperately want to be included among the twelve animals that will make up the Chinese zodiac. In order to be counted among the elite, they must win a race against all the other animals in the land and cross the finish line somewhere between 1st and 12th place.

Both animals doubt that they will be able to physically outperform the likes of the tiger or other large beasts so they scheme to outwit the other animals by getting a head start atop the back of a Buffalo. All
Nov 20, 2010 Esther rated it really liked it
Published in 1998 by Henry Holt and Co.
Interest Level: 3rd-5th Grade

This is the story of the Chinese Zodiac and how the rat tricked the cat so that he was unable to be part of the set of zodiac animals. The illustrations seem "cloudy" and seem to be made of paper and oil pastels. This effect allows for the reader to imagine the action and characters as they want without focusing on the illustrations solely. The spare use of color focused the story on the plot and various animals while it also co
Bonnie Chang
Mar 30, 2013 Bonnie Chang rated it really liked it
APA: Young, E. (1995). Cat and Rat: the legend of the Chinese zodiac. New York: H. Holt.
Subgroup Chinese Zodiac
Genre: Fiction
Language: English
Relate: This story allows children to imagine how the Chinese Zodiac came to be while also explaining why the cat is not in the Chinese zodiac.
Synopsis: This story is about friendship, competition and why the cat hates the rat. The story begins with the friendship of the cat and the rat. These two animals never leave each other’s side, eating together,
Mrs. Jones
May 21, 2013 Mrs. Jones rated it it was amazing
Get ready to race into this amazing folktale! Cat and Rat by Ed Young will take you on an adventure that everyone will adore. It is a race to the finish line and everyone wants first prize. But only twelve will get to have a year in the Chinese calendar named after them. Who will win the race?
In this awesome book the characters change dramatically throughout the story. From friends to enemies Cat and Rat are two very exciting animals. There is a lot of thrilling action and I think it is a very i
Apr 23, 2015 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd suggest people to read this book in broad daylight. I did the stupid mistake of reading it with a night light, and scared the heebiejeebies out of me. The pictures are quite intimidating maybe for some children, but it's nice learning about the story of how the Chinese zodiacs came about.
Feb 15, 2015 Susan rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
Much better than I thought - glad I finally picked this up and read it!
Oct 21, 2010 Nancy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people of all ages

I’ve been a fan of children’s book illustrators ever since working in the children’s department of the public library in Columbus, Indiana years ago. A special favorite is Ed Young. This is a particularly striking book in which Mr. Young’s mystical paintings illustrate the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac. The illustrations are accompanied by his interpretation of a Chinese legend telling the story of how the animals gained their position in the Zodiac by running a race.

A great idea for
Jun 24, 2013 Jan rated it it was amazing
Once upon a time in China, the emperor decided to hold a race among all the animals. The first 12 animals to cross the finish line would be honored by having a year in the Chinese calendar named for them. The race itself was a challenging course, and some of the animals, especially the cat and the rat, had greater challenges because of their size.

Ed Young used charcoal and pastels on dark rice paper to create the illustrations, which are dark, but marvelous. The white on black text is often diff
Mills College Library
Picture Y71c 1998
Mar 06, 2015 Jade rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Chinese zodiac history lovers
Cat and Rat is an interesting, amazing recount of the Chinese zodiac folktale with stunning dark illustrations.
The story is about the cat and rat entering a race that's held by The Jade Emperor for all the animals among the land to come and race for a spot in the Chinese calendar to be named after them.
Kevin Evans
Cat and Rat is a great way to introduce astrology signs to any classroom age. The pictures in the book are kind of dark and eerie, so I feel that you could even use this in a high school setting. I think it does a good job of providing why cats and rats do not like each other darn that race! ;)
Nancy Schroeder
It was cool to learn about how the Chinese calendar came to be, but I didn't think the cat and rat aspect was as interesting. I did like knowing the rat was first in the race! (I'm a rat) Though the illustrations were lovely, I think some were too dark or abstract for kids to appreciate.
Aug 31, 2008 Megan rated it really liked it
Children's book in reguards to the Chinese Zodiac and why the Cat did not make it into one of the 12. The pictures are well done, though I imagine some of the images would seem scary to small children, but would be fine for slightly older children.
Feb 15, 2013 Kim rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
You gotta feel sorry for cat. Okay version of the Chinese Zodiac. Nice illustrations, but dark and blurry illustrations are sometimes hard on my eyes.

themes: animals, cats, China, Chinese legends, Chinese Zodiac, enemies, rats
Callie Risse
I would consider this book historical fiction because it is about the Chinese Zodiac. This is a book that would help children learn about the Chinese New Year.
Jun 02, 2012 Katy rated it liked it
Retelling of the legend of the Chinese zodiac. Again wonderful Ed Young illustrations to go with a cute story.
Jingqiu Chen
Oct 25, 2013 Jingqiu Chen rated it really liked it
Traditional Chinese folklore written in English, with typical Ed Young style Illustration.
Apr 16, 2008 Karl rated it really liked it
Pictures were a touch dark - sometime my kids had trouble understanding them.
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Ed Young is the illustrator of more than eighty books for children, seventeen of which he has also written. Among his books is the Caldecott Medal winner Lon Po Po, which he both wrote and illustrated. He says that his work is inspired by the philosophy of Chinese painting. He lives in Westchester County, New York.
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