Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Year of the Rat... and Peter Rabbit

Chinese New Year begins on February 7, 2008. It is the year of the Rat. In ancient times the rat was welcomed as a "protector and bringer of material prosperity." The rat is actually the first in the horoscope cycle. They begin the sequence and recur every 12th year by the lunar calendar.

Today I brought home a board book from the library (in celebration of Chinese Culture) by Amy Wilson Sanger, titled Yum Yum Dim Sum. It's part of the "World Snacks Book" series of board books that I have fallen in love with. Tricycle Press in Berkeley has published them. My sister said she has checked out the Sushi book several times from her local library.

The hip artwork in this book is beautiful with bright mod colors and overlay collage... almost 3-dimensional. The paper mache food looks tasty! With simple rhymes, fun and catchy and the back cover has a glossary of all the foods mentioned. Dim Sum, Oolong, Siu Mai, Ha Gau ....mmm I'm getting hungry.

Back to the year of the rat... The other night, my son and I watched the Miss Potter movie. I thought maybe it would inspire me with my illustrations. Well, it turned out to be more of a sweet, romantic flick but it really inspired my son's art. I'm posting his inspirational drawing of Peter running and losing his blue coat with the brass buttons and his shoes "one amongst the cabbages and the other amongst the potatoes."

Oh, yeah, the rat! One thing that I did find amazing was that young Beatrix and her brother were allowed to keep a pet rat (amongst other rodents) in their bedroom! In those days I didn't think children from high society kept pet rats... especially girl children. Maybe that's why Beatrix Potter is the best selling children's author of all time!

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