Saturday, January 28, is according to the Stem-Branch counting system the 4714th year in the Chinese calendar–the Year of the Female Fire Chicken. Other sites refer to this year as the Year of the Rooster.
There are several books that young readers will enjoy dealing with the celebration of the Chinese New Year. “Curious George Dragon Dance” is a simple story that deals with the Chinese custom of a New Year’s day parade which would feature a dragon dance. George and his friend Marco met Lily in Chinatown. They help her practice for the dragon dance, but unfortunately the dragon meets with an accident. Together the three children mend the dragon and are asked to march in the parade.
Lovers of Curious George will enjoy this story and will also learn about customs and traditions relating to Chinese New Year.
“Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas” by Natasha Kim, illustrated by Grace Zong, is a funny retelling of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” Goldy is asked by her mother to deliver some turnip cakes to their neighbors and wish them Kung Hei Fat Choi. Goldy trips as she enters Chans’ apartment spilling the cakes all over the floor. This was an omen: bad luck will follow.
Goldy sees three steaming bowls of congee on the table. She samples each. Of course, the small bowl is just right. And so she continues trying out beds and chairs. When the Chans return home, they see the mess Goldy has created. Goldy awakens to hear the Chans, panda bears, and runs out of their apartment.
At this point, the story parts company from the original. Goldy makes amends to her neighbors and helps to clean up the mess. In turn, she is invited to make more turnip cakes with her new friend Little Chan.
In the author’s note, Natasha Kim gives the reader some insights into Chinese customs, the Chinese Zodiac, and a recipe for turnip cakes. Colorfully illustrated by Grace Zong, this is a story readers from ages four and up will enjoy.