Tales of the Chinese Zodiac: The Year of the Rooster

Tales of the Chinese Zodiac: The Year of the Rooster
Characters from the Year of the Rooster

Characters from the Year of the Rooster


Kimmel, Eric A. The Rooster’s Antlers, A Story of the Chinese Zodiac. NY: Holiday House, 1999.

A long time ago, the Jade Emperor decided to measure time and name each of the 12 years of the Chinese Zodiac after an animal.

He would choose only the wisest, bravest, swiftest and most beautiful animals.

All the animals hoped they would be picked especially Rooster with his bright red comb, multi-colored feathers and coral antlers.

Dragon, however, wasn’t sure if he would be picked because of his baldness. Centipede cut a deal with dragon. He offered to get Rooster’s antlers so Dragon would be picked but Dragon had to promise to give him many legs and powerful jaws. Dragon agreed, grateful that he wouldn’t have to defend Centipede like he used to do.

Centipede gave Rooster a sob story about Dragon’s baldness and asked to borrow Rooster’s antlers. When Dragon finished with them, he would return them. Dragon, Centipede assured Rooster, just wanted the Emperor chose him as one of the 12 animals of the zodiac.

When Centipede brought the antlers to Dragon, Dragon strutted and in front of his mirror. He also carried out his promise to Centipede and gave him lots of legs and powerful jaws.

Jade Emperor summoned all the animals together and announced his choices to represent the Twelve Earthly Branches.  The Emperor placed the Dragon 5th on his list and placed the Rooster 10th. Rooster was crushed.

Rooster demanded his antlers back but Dragon refused, laughing at him. Next, Rooster got into a fight with Centipede. Centipede thought his new jaws and legs would defeat Rooster but he was no match for Rooster’s beak and ability to fly. Centipede crawled under a rock in fear that Rooster would hurt him.

From that day on, roosters have hated centipedes and pounce on them and eat them. Rooster continued to pine for his coral antlers, sitting on a fence, flapping his wings and crowing loudly, “Ku-ker-keru! Dragon, give me back my antlers!”

Shadow Theatre

Shadow Theater made of recycled materials

Shadow Puppets:

The Jade Emperor




Act out The Year of the Rooster. What would happen if Dragon had returned the antlers to Rooster? The tale would have ended differently! Act out a different version of the story.


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About marion

I first wrote and sketched as a child growing up in Pittsburgh, PA and Brooklyn, New York. I received her first recognition for my creativity when I won the New York City Schools Art Award and participated in my first art exhibit in downtown Manhattan. I was fourteen and a half when I moved to Cyprus with my family. I experienced culture shock but I continued to write about and sketch the sights and sounds of another country and many other things. I am a creative person. I write children's and Young Adult fiction and nonfiction. I write historical and Coming of Age Young Adult novels. I also write picture books and art books for elementary school children. I am in the process of writing a fictionalized biography of a member of the Belgian Resistance who also fought for the US Army during World War II. I worked as a freelance editor for two local companies: College Prowler and SterlingHouse Publisher. I also worked as an assistant literary agent for Lee Shore Agency. I was attending Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction Program at the time and the experience was invaluable. My course work toward my Master of Arts degree in turn helped me at work. As an assistant literary agent, I reviewed all incoming manuscripts, cultivated a relationship with the writers we contracted and marketed our books to book publishers for sale. I “freelanced” my editing skills which included working with the manuscript acquisitions editor, selecting book covers with the art department, writing the book jacket blurb, reading film scripts and executing general office duties as assigned. Oh, by the way, I edited books, too. I even utilized Adobe InDesign for the editing that I did for College Prowler. I’ve also reviewed published books and conducted research. I have published nonfiction articles and books online and in print. As an artist, I have exhibited my mixed media drawings and collages nationally and regionally and have worked as a freelance designer and calligrapher. I have a BA in Studio Arts from the University of Pittsburgh and a MA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University.

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