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Children's Nonfiction General

Twelve in a Race

by (author) Catherine Little

by (artist) Sae Kimura

Plumleaf Press Inc.
Initial publish date
Mar 2022
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2022
    List Price

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TWELVE IN A RACE is a read-aloud rhyming book. It retells the origin story of the Chinese zodiac, and in the telling reveals the characteristics of each of the 12 animals — from “persuasive and smart” Rat to “persistent and calm” Sheep to “loyal and diligent” Dog, children will find an animal to root for in this very old tale.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

CATHERINE LITTLE is an educator, consultant, and writer with a love of children’s books. She wrote Twelve in a Race as a way to introduce her son to another zodiac story in his Chinese heritage.

SAE KIMURA is an artist and illustrator originally from Odawara, Japan, now working and exhibiting her art in Toronto and elsewhere. Her artwork can be found in many galleries and private collections.

Excerpt: Twelve in a Race (by (author) Catherine Little; by (artist) Sae Kimura)

The Chinese zodiac plays an important role in Chinese culture. It consists of 12 zodiac signs, each characterized by a different animal. Each animal represents a year that starts on the day of Chinese New Year. The zodiac signs follow a specific order and repeat that sequence every 12 years.

The zodiac is based on legends from Chinese culture, telling the story of a great race in the Emperor’s honour. Although different versions exist and some details may vary, the order of the zodiac animals remains the same based on where the animals finish in the race, starting with Rat and ending with Pig.

The Chinese zodiac is believed to influence people’s personality traits based on the animal of their birth year. Certain animals, for example, Dragon, are associated with positive qualities, such as luck and prosperity. Based on these attributes, the Chinese zodiac also determines compatibility between the zodiac signs and continues to influence relationships, career decisions, and life choices to this day.