Twelve in a Race

(6 customer reviews)


Written by Catherine Little
Illustrated by Sae Kimura

Twelve in a Race is a read-aloud rhyming book about the origin story of the Chinese zodiac. Young readers will learn about the characteristics of each zodiac animal and how they finished in the Emperor’s great race. Written by Catherine Little and illustrated by Sae Kimura, Twelve in a Race is the perfect gift to give children to find out which animal correlates to their birth year!

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Twelve in a Race takes readers through the origin story of the Chinese zodiac, including the beginning, middle, and ending of the Emperor’s great race. Young readers will enjoy the rhyming pattern and driving question of “Who will win?” Catherine Little, author of Twelve in a Race, was inspired to write this story for her son so that he could learn more about his Chinese heritage. Twelve in a Race’s illustrations, done by Sae Kimura, an artist originally from Odawara, Japan, richly portray this version of the Chinese zodiac legend and imaginatively showcase each animal’s individual character traits throughout the Emperor’s race. Readers will enjoy finding out which animal placed first, which placed last, and which animal correlates to their birth year. Be sure to make room on your bookshelf for this keepsake to read every Lunar New Year and many times in between!

Additional information

Weight .36 kg
Dimensions 24.1 × 34.3 × 1.3 cm

Catherine Little


Sae Kimura


Trade, Casebound, 8.75" X 8.75", 36 pages

6 reviews for Twelve in a Race

  1. Jennifer Leung (verified owner)

    Great book! Makes the perfect gift for a new baby, love the rhymes and illustrations!

  2. Heather Speers (verified owner)

    Twelve in a Race is a wonderful book. The story it tells about the origin of the Chinese zodiac is highly entertaining and the illustrations are vibrant and beautiful. My one and a half year old grandson enjoys the rhyming verse and he loves pointing to and closely examining each of the animals as they are named and pictured in the story. He’s also being introduced to numbers. I can see older children having fun predicting who will win the race and why the race ends as it does. Twelve in a Race is a great addition to any child’s collection of books!

  3. Trudy Rising (verified owner)

    I recently bought this book for my niece who’s just turned 8. She’s going to love to use her new reading skills on this wonderfully rhyming Chinese myth! And the art is so engaging! Young children, being read to, will love to see the animals race over mountains and across raging rivers with a two-page spread devoted to the arrival of each animal at the finish line! I was surprised at who came first (and why) and who finally came last to the finish line (and what slowed him down). What a nice touch by the artist to place the Chinese symbol for each animal on its special two-page spread, as well. This is simply a lovely book to explain the Chinese Zodiac using a fun-to-read poem, enhanced by simply beautiful art!

  4. Eugene Li (verified owner)

    I just received my copy of Twelve in a Race and am looking forward to sharing it with my grandchildren. The youngest will be three this fall so he will enjoy the colourful illustrations and it will help him learn his ordinal numbers. The older ones will enjoy the character traits and the questions throughout. The book itself is truly beautiful.

  5. Francis Li (verified owner)

    “Twelve in a Race” is a classic story that explains the origins of the Chinese Zodiac. The illustrations are colourful and lively and the book makes not only a good read for young children but also a great conversation starter on my coffee table. Highly recommend picking up a copy!

  6. Tina Ginglo (verified owner)

    This book is beautiful cover to cover and everything in between! This is one of those books that both child and adult will want to read over and over again given the story’s rhythm and colourful illustrations.

    As an educator I could use this story not only during Asian Heritage month or Lunar New Year, but In other areas of the curriculum as well including math, literacy, drama and visual art.

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