What the Rat Told Me: A Legend of the Chinese Zodiac


Cut out each symbol of the Chinese zodiac and place at the easel or art table in the classroom for children to practice copying the symbols. Materials include: white paper, and black paint and paintbrushes or black markers.

Articles For Reference

Lambert, Megan Dowd. Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking about What They See. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 2015. Print.

Louis, Catherine, and Shi Bo. My Little Book of Chinese Words. New York: NorthSouth, 2008. Print.

Orgel, Doris, and Meilo So. The Cat's Tale: Why the Years Are Named for Animals. New York: Roaring Brook, 2008. Print.

Wang, Gabrielle, and Sally Rippin. The Race for the Chinese Zodiac. Somerville, MA: Candlewick, 2013. Print.

Young, Ed. Cat and Rat: The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac. New York: Square Fish/Henry Holt, 2012. Print.


Various ways to say Happy New Year in context are:

Family member:

奶奶,新年快乐! (nǎi nǎi, xīn nián kuài lè)

“Grandma, Happy New Year!”

Authority figure:

王老板,新年好。(wáng lǎo bǎn, xīn nián hǎo)

“Mr. Wong, Happy New Year.”


小南,新年快乐! (xiǎo nán, xīn nián kuài lè)

“Nan, Happy New Year.”


新年好!(xīn nián hǎo)

Have a good New Year!

新年快乐!(xīn nián kuài lè)

Have a Happy New Year!


Happy New Year song with English translation


Teaching Activities

A strategy to connect family and the classroom could include sending home some of the texts listed in this mini-unit, and request that parents or family members create a shareable audio recording of themselves reading the text. This is possible using the record function on any smartphone device or by using an application like SoundCloud.