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Children's Fiction General

The Animals of Chinese New Year / 中国农历新年动物生肖

by (author) Jen Sookfong Lee

translated by Kileasa Che Wan Wong

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Jan 2019
General, General, General
  • Board book

    Publish Date
    Jan 2019
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jan 2019
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 0 to 2
  • Grade: p to 12
  • Reading age: 0 to 2


Drawing on the myth of the Chinese zodiac, The Animals of Chinese New Year follows twelve animals as they speed across a river, competing to represent the imminent new year in a race held by the Jade Emperor, the most powerful Chinese god.

Each animal competes in its own unique way. The ox works hard, the tiger is brave, the dog smiles kindly, but who will win? Bright photographs of babies demonstrating the same traits as the animals in the text, complemented by traditional Chinese graphic elements, accompany Sookfong Lee's lively text.

Orca Book Publishers is pleased to offer this book as a dual-language (English/Simplified Chinese) edition.

About the authors

Jen Sookfong Lee was born and raised on Vancouver's East Side, and she now lives with her son in North Burnaby. Her books include The Conjoined, nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award and a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize; The Better Mother, a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award; The End of East; Gentlemen of the Shade; Chinese New Year and The Animals of Chinese New Year. Jen was a columnist for CBC Radio One's The Next Chapter for many years. She teaches at The Writer's Studio Online with Simon Fraser University, edits fiction for Wolsak & Wynn and co-hosts the literary podcast Can't Lit.


Jen Sookfong Lee's profile page

Kileasa Che Wan Wong's profile page


  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens, starred selection

Editorial Reviews

“An almost impossibly cute retelling of the myth about the animals who raced across a river at the behest of the Jade Emperor.”

Hicklebee's Bookstore

"Adorable...A gentle introduction to the holiday celebrated around the world."

Good Reads with Ronna blog

"With text in both English and Chinese, and showing a diverse group of adorable babies representing the words perfectly, this book is a treasure to experience between caregivers and little ones. It's sure to make memories and be a long-term favourite."

Resource Links

"Lee offers a sweet introduction to the zodiac for the very young."

Publishers Weekly

"This is the perfect introduction to Chinese New year and the Chinese Zodiac for young children. The text in English and Chinese makes this a good choice for readers learning either language."

Youth Services Book Review

"The layout of the book is crisp and clean, well suited to attracting a baby's attention…A brief note explains the origin of the Chinese zodiac, though that is hardly necessary to enjoy this attractive book."


"Adorable…The text and photos allow for an easy connection between adult readers and young listeners. While this book could be enjoyed at any time of year, it is a good fit for holiday displays, programming, and curricula."

School Library Journal

Other titles by Jen Sookfong Lee

Other titles by Kileasa Che Wan Wong

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