Written by: Oliver Chin
Illustrated by: Jennifer Wood
Published by: Immedium
Published on: December 31, 2013
Provided by the published for review. All opinions are my own.
Happy New Year! Welcome to the year of the horse. This is my year (by the Japanese calendar). Please don't figure out how old I am. ;)
The Japanese zodiac is mostly the same as the Chinese one, but the new year in Japan starts on January 1 rather than following the old calendar. Which means those of us born in January/February are often a different zodiac animal depending on whether we are using the Chinese or Japanese zodiac. I'm a horse in Japan but a snake according to the Chinese zodiac.
This is the first book in the Tales from the Chinese Zodiac series that I have seen, but there are other including the Year of the Dragon, Rabbit, Tiger, Ox, and Rat. These stories aren't specifically about new year celebrations, but about the animals from the year.
The Year of the Horse stars Hannah the horse and Tom, the artist's student, who are both finding their way in the world. They end up going on a big journey, and along the way they meet up with the various other zodiac animals while learning the value of teamwork.
My kids both really liked the cartoon-like illustrations and it really helps that the plotting is quick and Wood's illustrations are great at conveying movement.
It's so fantastic to find books related to the New Year as we celebrate it here in Japan, so I definitely recommend this to English speakers in Japan as well as other people with kids!