Mimi and Shu in I’ll Race You! written by Christian Trimmer and illustrated by Melissa van der Paardt (2015)
Mimi the cat and Shu the mouse get an invitation to run in a race to the palace. Mimi catnaps all day while Shu comes up with a plan to win the race. When it was time to begin, Mimi and Shu get a pretty good start, but soon the other animals advance on them. Shu is ready. He distracts Dog with a ball, Monkey with a bunch of bananas, and Lion with a ball of yarn. Each time they came across an animal who was ahead of them, Shu had a clever plan. Even Dragon wasn’t a problem, because he took off to help some villagers nearby. But when they got to a raging river, Mimi and Shu could not cross. Shu promised Ox Mimi’s cupcake if he would carry them across the river and so he did. When Mimi saw what Shu had done, she was going to push him off Ox’s back into the water, but Shu dodged and Mimi landed in the river instead and Shu was one of the first twelve animals to make it to the palace first. The special surprise was that the first twelve animals to win the race were rewarded with having a year named after them and that anyone born in that year would possess the best characteristics of each animal. Poor Mimi didn’t make it in time to have a year, and all the cupcakes were gone too, but her friend Shu had saved one just for her.
Cute story about naming the years of the Chinese calendar. The end sheets give the name and characteristics of each year. (Sadly for us older folks, there was no mention of years prior to 1960, so I had to look mine up on the internet… I’m a Monkey by the way.)
Look up your child’s year and see what traits that animal shares with him or her. Here are the last 12 years.
2015 Goat (serene, creative, and a bit of a loner)
2014 Horse (outgoing, funny, and prone to leave things undone)
2013 Snake (intelligent, graceful, and a tad materialistic)
2012 Dragon (passionate, ambitious, and prone to wear yourself out)
2011 Rabbit (sweet, sentimental, and sometimes a little moody)
2010 Tiger (brave, intelligent, and a little unpredictable)
2009 Ox (dependable, hard working, and sometimes has a bad temper)
2008 Mouse (charming, witty, and a wee bit vengeful)
2007 Pig (generous, helpful, and can be too excessive)
2006 Dog (loyal, kind, and sometimes stubborn)
2005 Rooster (confident, trustworthy, and a little bit of a show-off)
2004 Monkey (clever, playful, and oh so mischievous)