Books by Hideo C. Yoshida

WHY RAT COMES FIRST by Clara Yen
ANIMALS
Released: June 15, 1991

The Chinese-American author says that, when she was a child, her father read her several folk tales explaining the ordering of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, but she preferred this one, which he had ``made up.'' From his throne high in the sky, the Jade King invites all the animals to a feast, but just 12 come. To honor them, the king decides to give their names to the years in the calendar cycle. Rat suggests that he should be first: he's clever; Ox counters by pointing out his own strength. When the people of earth are asked to choose ``the most special,'' gentle ox beguiles the children by giving them rides. Rat, declaring that Ox's size gives him an unfair advantage, cajole the Prime Minister into transforming him into a giant rat: most special, as everyone agrees. Spiced by mildly satirical events, but the good-humored spirit appropriate to the New Year prevails in this unusual, well-told tale. The Japanese-American illustrator's stylized art is lively and colorful. Details on the Chinese lunar calendar are included. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >