(Mimi and Shu in) I'll Race You!
By Christian Trimmer
Art by Melissa van der Paardt
I grew up eating the most delicious Vietnamese food, both at home (thank you, Mom!) and in restaurants. Many of the restaurants we frequented had those great red-and-gold Chinese Zodiac placemats. I loved studying the different signs, and as an added bonus, my grasp of the twelves times table was exemplary.
When I finally allowed myself to start writing, I set out to tell a story about the Chinese Zodiac, specifically about why it did not have a cat among its twelve signs. As such, I'm pleased to introduce Mimi, a kitten who loves to play, chase butterflies, and eat cupcakes, and her best friend Shu, a mouse who always aims to win.
Here's a little behind-the-book tidbit for you. The Chinese word for "kitty" is "maomi," which is adorable, but I thought "Mimi" better suited the character. And the Chinese word for "rat" (it's actually a rat, not a mouse, in the zodiac, but as a New Yorker, I have a hard time with rats) is "shu," which is a cute, memorable name, don't you think? (Apologies for the lack of accents marks here.)
Melissa van der Paardt illustrated this big cast of characters and their world. Justin Chanda provided valuable editorial advice. Lauren Rille brought all of the elements together.