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The Chinese new year has begun, and while there’s some debate as to whether this is the Year of the Sheep or the Goat (or even the Ram), as a knitter I’m going with the sheep.
Oliver Chin went with the sheep, too, in his book we just happened to find at the library this week, The Year of the Sheep: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac.
The book is one of a series of 12 (10 have been released so far) picture books featuring little stories about all the animals represented in the Chinese zodiac.
The Year of the Sheep tells the story of Sydney, a little lamb who wants to explore more of the world than the meadows where her family grazes. She often gets into trouble but ultimately notices a problem that all the animals of the zodiac get together to solve.
It’s a sweet little story and the illustrations, by Alina Chau, are really cute.
I’m not 100 percent certain Sydney really displays the traits of a sheep, given that the information in the back of the book says sheep “tend to go with the flow” and “like the routine comforts of home,” neither of which are particularly evident in a sheep who goes wandering.
Her creativity, kindness and cooperation are clear, though, in how she helps to get all the animals to work together to solve a big problem.
It’s a sweet story about teamwork, and the big-eyed creatures and little girl shepherd are sure to delight little kids (the books are aimed at the four- to eight-year-old range).
A book from this series would be a great gift for a child born in whatever year (the girl is an Ox, and her story naturally has something to do with pulling your own weight and rescuing friends in trouble), and they’re a fun way to mark the new year and learn a little bit about Chinese culture.
Did you read any books to celebrate the new year? I’d love to hear about them!
Ironically, any of our sheep-related books that I borrowed for Chinese New Year were too boring for my boys — they opted for a dragon book instead! 🙂