No Year of the Cat
No Year of the Cat is one version of a very old story explaining how the animals were chosen to represent years in
the Chinese calendar.
1. Find at least two other versions of this Chinese folktale.
For Example: Cat and Rat by Ed Young and The Great Race by Dawn Casey.
2. Compare and contrast the art in the three books.
3. Compare the stories. How are they alike? How are they different?
4. Examine the information at the end of each book. How are they alike or different?
Find a nonfiction book on calendars.
1. The Chinese calendar is a lunar calendar. What does that mean?
2. How does the Chinese Calendar differ from the one used in the United States?
No Year of the Cat is a "Why" story. "Why" stories explain some natural occurrence or some well-known situation.
1. What situation or action does No Year of the Cat explain?
2. Read at least two "Why" stories set in some other country.
Examples: Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears by Verna Aardema
The Elephant's Child by Rudyard Kipling.
A. What country does each represent?
B. What occurrence or situation is explained in each of the stories?
3. Create your own "Why" story explaining something in nature.
For example, why are flowers that bloom at night white or very pale?
Find a nonfiction book that explains the real reason this is true.
Read a book of Aesop's fables.
1. What is the purpose of a fable?
2. How does the purpose of a fable differ from the purpose of a "Why" story?
Hold a mock trial for rat.
Set up your courtroom with a judge, 6 jurors, an attorney for the cat, an attorney for the rat, and as many of the
animal witnesses as you choose. Cat will also be present to testify. She is charging the rat with causing her to lose a
place in the calendar and is suing to replace the rat and requesting 10 years of cat food in damages. Rat must
answer the charge that he caused Cat to lose his place and must give arguments why he should not be replaced by
cat. All except the judge and 6 jurors will prepare arguments for one side or the other. Hold the trial, and let the
jurors make a decision.
Additional Activities on the Sleeping Bear Press site
Visit http://sleepingbearpress.com/teaching_guides . Scroll down to No Year of the Cat for downloadable