A Story For Lunar New Year

The Great Zodiac Race

Long ago the Jade Emperor made a calendar to help all the people & animals to remember important things. The Jade Emperor decided to name each year after an animal. The animals were all very excited. Of course, all the animals wanted to be first! "The winner of The Great Zodiac Race will be the first calendar animal," announced the Jade Emperor. There are many slightly different versions of The Great Zodiac Race from China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Mongolia & Tibet. Follow our simple story points to write your own exciting version. Use our writing tips to make your story exciting & dynamic.

The Jade Emperor's palace & gardens.

The Great Zodiac Race.

Introduction 1.The Jade Emperor sends out invitations to all the animals.

2 Best friends Rat & Cat receive their invitations.

3.Cat & Rat are excited. Cat asks Rat to wake her up for the race.

4. Rat is too excited & forgets.

Writing Tips:

Where is the Jade Emperor?

In a palace or in a garden?

Is it day time or night time?

Add some interesting Cat & Rat dialogue

Cat is sleeping & misses The Great Zodiac Race.


The Race begins

1. Rat is fast but Ox, Tiger & Horse are faster.

2. Rat is clever & swaps his beautiful singing for a ride on Ox's back.

3. Ox swims across the river. Rat jumps off & crosses the finish line first!

4.Rat 1st, Ox 2nd & Tiger 3rd.

Writing Tips:

Describe the movement & sound of the animals.

Are they running up hill or down hill?

Describe the fast & dangerous river.

Use a thesaurus & the words below to help you.


Click here for our New Year Quiz & games

Brigid's English words for creative writing.


1. Rabbit overtakes horse.

2. Rabbit leaps over stones to cross the river.

3. Rabbit is 4th.

Writing Tips

How does rabbit feel when he sees the big river?

Describe the way rabbit leaps from stone to stone.

Does he wobble & nearly fall in?

Use a thesaurus & the words below to help you.

Brigid's English words for creative writing.



1.Flying Dragon puts out a fire & rescues the villagers.

2.Dragon overtakes the Horse.

3.Dragon is 5th.

Writing Tips

Describe Dragon's movement & his character.

What do you think the villagers say to the Dragon?

Use a thesaurus & the words below to help you.

Brigid's English words for creative writing.


Snake & Horse

1.Snake is hidden in Horse's hoof. 2.Just before the finish line Snake slithers out & crosses the line 6th.

3.Horse is 7th

Writing Tips

How do you think Horse feels about Snake? Use a thesaurus to help you find some interesting words.

Inspirations for creative writing . Brigid's English Lessons


Sheep, Monkey & Rooster

1. Sheep, Monkey & Rooster make a raft & cross the river together.

2. Sheep is 8th, Monkey is 9th & Rooster is 10th.

Writing Tips

Describe how thy work together to make the raft.

Which special skill does each animal have?

Use a thesaurus & the words below to help you.

Brigid's English words for creative writing lessons.


Dog & Pig

1. Dog is 11th because he was busy playing in the water.

2. Finally Pig is 12th. Pig stopped on the way for a picnic!

Writing Tips

Describe Dog playing in the river. What do dogs like to play?

Use a thesaurus & the words below to help you write about Dog.

Brigid's English words for creative writing lessons.


Use a thesaurus to find some fun words for Pig.

Brigid's English inspirations for creative writing lessons.


The End

What do you think the Jade Emperor says to all the animals?

How do they celebrate the first New Year?


Follow Up:

Make your story into a puppet play.

Reenact your story with your friends in the play ground. Role Play: TV presenter interviews the different animals. Record your interviews & share.



Please contact us with any questions or if you would like to book some lessons with us.



Thank you for reading. Have fun with your story. See you soon.

#HolidaysFestivals #CreativeLanguageActivitiesForKids

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