Dragon Noodle Party: A Story of Chinese Zodiac Animals
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dragon Noodle Party: A Story of Chinese Zodiac Animals, by Ying Chang Compestine (Little Red Riding Hood and the Dragon) and illustrated by Paula Pang, is a cute story of 12 animals gathering for a birthday celebration. Across from the title page, there's a chart showing each of the animals and the birth year they're associated with, from 1998 to 2033. In the back matter, readers will find the characteristics of each animal in an illustrated list. The author writes, "It is believed that one born on the year of their animal sign will have characteristics of that animal." She invites kids to check out the list, find their animal sign, and "see if you agree" that it sounds like you. An Author's Note explains the Chinese tradition of celebrating birthdays with long noodles (a symbol of long life), and there's a recipe for making Dragon Beard Noodles. This fun picture book is a great choice for Lunar New Year or anytime.
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What's the Story?
DRAGON NOODLE PARTY: A STORY OF CHINESE ZODIAC ANIMALS starts with a list of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals across from the title page. Then the story begins, with each spread showing an animal making its way to a gathering, each one bringing a contribution to a feast. "Goat strolled up the hill with wild onions. Monkey climbed up the hill with oil and spices. Rooster strutted up the hill with a basket of eggs," etc., up through "Dragon flew up the hill with long and thin noodles." The last animal is Snake, who "slithered up the hill with nothing" -- because it's Snake's birthday, and the banquet the animals have cooked and laid out is for Snake's party. "Happy birthday, Snake!"
Is It Any Good?
This kid-friendly introduction to the Chinese zodiac is simple, fun, with solid cultural information plus a tasty recipe. Dragon Noodle Party: A Story of Chiinese Zodiac Animals lets kids learn what their zodiac animal is (according to the year they were born) and invites them to think about whether they fit the description of what that animal is like. That and the recipe for Dragon Beard Noodles -- a dish popular in Northern China -- adds interactive elements to the simple birthday party story in the main text. Paula Pang's cheerful, colorful, stylized animal characters help keep young kids' attention as they follow the lead-up to the birthday party climax.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the zodiac signs in Dragon Noodle Party. What's your Chinese zodiac sign? Take a look at the chart at the front of the book to find out. It's based on the year when you were born.
Check out the list of characteristics for the zodiac signs in the back of the book. Do the characteristics of the animal for your sign sound like you?
What noodle dishes do your family eat? Would you like to try making the book's recipe for Dragon Beard Noodles?
- Author: Ying Chang Compestine
- Illustrator: Paula Pang
- Genre: Picture Book
- Topics: Cooking and Baking, Magic and Fantasy, Horses and Farm Animals, Wild Animals
- Character Strengths: Curiosity, Teamwork
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Holiday House
- Publication date: December 6, 2022
- Number of pages: 40
- Available on: Hardback, Kindle
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: December 13, 2022
Our Editors Recommend
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The Chinese Emperor's New Clothes
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For kids who love Picture books and stories with Asian characters
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