Jade Rabbit is one of the titles in Snowflake Books' series: Animal Signs. Adapted from ancient Chinese legends, all based around the mythical Race of the Animals, these stories are well-known and loved by Chinese children; the books thus provide an informal and accessible means of introducing Western children to an important aspect of Chinese life and culture in the home, and of introducing diversity studies into education. Each book tells the story of one of the animals of the Chinese Zodiac signs, which are also used as the names of the years in the Chinese calendar. In Jade Rabbit, Rabbit lives with her friends Fox and Monkey in a forest. There is a terrible drought and famine. One day a starving old man appears, begging for food. Rabbit can find no food and so offers herself in a supreme and rather bizarre sacrifice. But it turns out that the old man was a god, testing Rabbit's sincerity and kindness. The god sends Rabbit on a journey to the moon. Here she lives with the Moon Lady in the beautiful Moon Palace. Rabbit is taught how to make many wonderful herb medicines until, one day, she is sent back to earth to enter the legendary Animal Race.
During the race Rabbit comes across many sick people and uses her knowledge of medicine to cure them. Rabbit uses many disguises in her work, but one day she is very tired and falls asleep, when her disguise fades away and the grateful people discover she is only a rabbit after all.As with all Chinese traditional animal stories, their deceptive simplicity is a vehicle for displaying the richness and variety of human character and feeling; Chinese believe the animal year of a person's birth influences character; the animals in these legends display to some extent their respective zodiac qualities, in this case Rabbit's kind and self-effacing character which is seen to be worthy of the Moon Lady's instruction. Rabbit uses her knowledge well and her reward is to be respected and loved by everyone. Chinese people still regard Jade Rabbit with affection and pray to her, hoping for good luck and health.This is an entirely new version of the old legend, re-written in simple English, suitable for reading to or by young children, or by older children learning Mandarin. The complete text is bi-lingual with colour coded key words and a Mandarin-English vocabulary.
The parallel text in Pinyin, using the Roman alphabet, enables readers to pronounce the Chinese characters. Purchase of the book allows access to an animated e-book with audio in English and/or Chinese.Production quality is high, with good quality paper, original full colour illustrations by Chinese artists on every page, and traditional binding.