R-O-A-R-R-R! Temujin the Tiger is back!

February 1, 2022 at 5:47 pm | Posted in Chinese New Year, The Year of the Tiger | Leave a comment
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Kung Hei Fat Choy!!

It’s the Year of the Tiger, and my favourite big cat Temujin is marauding again! Just like his namesake, (that boy Temujin who fought his way to becoming Genghis Khan), he’s munching his way through Mongolia right now, before turning towards China, with its magnificent masterpiece the Grand Imperial Palace (or the G.I.P for short!). But wait – who is that grumpy looking Royal Princess in the picture? And will she become just another toothsome morsel…or has Temujin finally met his match? You’ll have to read the story to find out!

Goodbye Ox, hello Tiger!!

January 31, 2022 at 4:00 pm | Posted in Chinese New Year | Leave a comment
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It’s Chinese New Year’s Eve, and the wise old Ox is on his way out, ready for a good rest after a rather difficult year! And now it’s time to say a big hello to the TIGER!

Now they say that Tigers are very hard to resist! Like Temujin in my book The Tale of Temujin, they make charismatic and brave leaders, who love adventure and challenges, yet they also make sensitive and considerate friends. On the other hand, they’re also often unpredictable, and they can be very bad-tempered when they’re trapped in a corner! So it looks like this year, we might be in for a roller-coaster of a ride!!

Hold onto your seats!!

As the Rat prepares to leave town, the Ox gets ready to move in!

January 24, 2021 at 9:34 pm | Posted in Chinese New Year | Leave a comment
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Illustrations by Harry Harrison from The Tale of Run Run Rat and The Tale of Oswald Ox

At last it’s 2021, and as the Year of the Rat draws to a close in 19 days’ time, a new Zodiac beastie is coming to town! Yes, it’s Oswald Ox, carrying hundreds of great ideas for the New Year on his back! As well, of course, as his very best friend Eleanor the Cattle Egret, who loves to keep her big buddy free of annoying flies and mosquitoes, whilst at the same time keeping herself fit and healthy by eating them for dinner! Just drag the arrows above to watch what happens when Run Run Rat follows Ping Pong Pig out of the picture, and Oswald Ox moves in!

From The Tale of Oswald Ox, illustrated by Harry Harrison

Now we all know that oxen are wise and patient animals, quietly watching as the other animals on the farm scurry hither and thither, and so often overlooked. That is, until something goes wrong – and then the good old ox moves in to solve the problem. Let’s just say that in 2021, we’ll be in better hands than last year!

And if you haven’t read The Tale of Oswald Ox, and don’t know yet how he solved a great mystery on a little Chinese farm, you can get your very own copy here!

Visit to Shatin Junior by Zoom!

March 2, 2020 at 11:06 am | Posted in Chinese New Year, Hong Kong Schools, School visits, Shatin Junior School, Video, Year of the Rat, Zoom visits | Leave a comment
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I just visited the kids and teachers Shatin Junior School by Zoom, to do a fun live story reading of The Tale of Run Run Rat! We had over 120 kids logging in! Thanks so much to teachers Trudy McMillin and James Haworth for organising and hosting this fun online event! Below you can see a couple of fun video clips, and above, some photos. You can even see my little dog Mozart in one of them, enjoying the story!

Ready, steady, GO! The Great Year of the Rat Challenge 2020 starts NOW!

February 24, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Posted in Asia Society Hong Kong, Challenges and activities, Chinese New Year, The Great Year of the Rat Challenge 2020 | Leave a comment
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Great Year of the Rat Challenge 2020 cover illo

Asia Society and I are hugely excited to announce the beginning of our Great Year of the Rat Challenge 2020, with fabulous prizes to be won! It’s open to all students of primary school age, especially those who are stuck at home at present! You can register right away, and you’ll have our Information Sheets and Challenge Checklist within 48 hours. You have until midnight, Sunday 15th March to get your completed entries in! Click on the form below to find out more and to register!

And good luck!

0224 The Year of the Rat Challenge (with List of Challenges)

Run Run Rat at the China Institute in New York!

February 8, 2020 at 11:32 am | Posted in China Institute New York, Chinese New Year, Events, New York | Leave a comment
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Run Run Rat scampered into the China Institute Chinese New Year Family Celebration last Sunday, and here he is having his story read by a lovely China Institute story-teller! I am assured that the room was chockful of kiddies and their parents! I can’t wait to meet some of them in person when I fly out to New York later in the year!

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Thank you so much Michael Buening, Operations Director at the China Institute in New York, for inviting me, being so flexible when I had to cancel, and sending me these lovely photos! I’ll see you all soon!

Seven big reasons why I love Hong Kong!

February 5, 2020 at 11:21 am | Posted in Chinese New Year, Dragon dance, Hong Kong, Hong Kong events | Leave a comment
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For all the recent doom and gloom about viruses and protests, Hong Kong, my home for the last 21 years, is still one of my favourite places in the world! And here are just a few reasons why I ESPECIALLY love Hong Kong at Chinese New Year!

Blue, blue skies above spectacular architecture!

Chinese New Year really is the best time of year in Hong Kong weather-wise, with low humidity and lovely bright days with cool nights – yum! And its buildings are fantastic! Above are just a few that I snapped on a brisk walk from Wanchai into Central the other day!

Flowers, flowers everywhere!

Chinese New Year is the time for spectacular fruit and flower displays at home, in the office, and on every street corner! Above are just a few I spotted on my walk through the city centre!

Extraordinary trees, some literally hanging off the walls!

The city is home to some of the most glorious banyan trees, with their aerial roots and extraordinary root systems making them a unique part of this unique city!

Fabulous decorations in shopping malls!

And in shops…

 

And in the streets…

 

And all the excitement of Dragon Dances!

Here’s a short video I took in Saikung village, in the New Territories, where four different teams of dancers, drummers and their followers circulated around the village, spreading good fortune for the New Year! Here you can see a Black Lion entering a small shop, to receive the gift of a lettuce, which it “eats” to ensure the prosperity of the shop for the coming year!

Run Run Rat goes to New York…and hits the New York Times!

February 1, 2020 at 10:33 am | Posted in China Institute New York, Chinese New Year, Events, New York, New York Times, Year of the Rat | Leave a comment
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Run Run running

Hooray! Run Run Rat has run all the way to New York, where he’ll meet hundreds of kids, mums and dads at the China Institute during their special Chinese New Year Family Festival this Sunday! Take a look at this link in the famous New York Times: Seven Things to Do with your Kids in NYC this Weekend! I’m so sad that I can no longer be there to read out loud the funny and fabulous story of his adventures travelling around China, where he ends up running in a rather famous race during the Beijing Olympics! But a lovely story teller from China Institute will be telling his story in my place, and showing Harry Harrison’s fabulous pictures up on a screen to the audience during the afternoon, and for an ambitious little Rat, that’s very exciting! Especially in the Year of the Rat!

I’ll be posting lots of photos after the event. Huge thanks to Michael Buening, Director of Operations at the Institute, for inviting me and Run Run to take part in this fantastic event, and for his generosity and understanding over the last few days. I know the event is going to be just fantastic!

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Kung Hei Fat Choi! It’s time for a Rascally Rat Tale writing competition!

January 24, 2020 at 2:43 pm | Posted in Chinese Calendar Tales, Chinese New Year, Clever Competitions | Leave a comment
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Picture credit: Harry Harrison, The Tale of Run Run Rat

Kung Hei Fat Choi! It’s Chinese New Year! My feisty Run Run Rat is telling his family all about his adventurous plans for his trip around China. His mum is busy baking some delicious steam buns for a Chinese New Year feast! His dad is taking a break from his hard work as a miner, and his big sister is STILL filing her claws!! As for Run Run’s little brother – he’s wondering how many egg tarts he can gobble up before his mum notices!

So it’s high time we had another writing competition!

It’s open to anyone, anywhere in the world who is:

  • a primary or elementary school student from Grade 1 to Grade 6
  • or home-educated students of equivalent stage

This time I want you to write me a story about a rascally Rat, set in China, with the following further ingredients:

  • a Chinese emperor
  • a brainy princess
  • three magic tangerines
  • an evil talking dumpling
  • the colour malachite (if you don’t know what that is, then look it up!)
  • a long drought

Click on my Clever Competitions page right away to find out what I’ll be looking for, and all the competition rules!

The deadline date is Friday 17th April, so you have 3 months to write your story! And with a fabulous Chinese New Year holiday just starting, you could begin your story plan right away!

What a fabulous way to start your celebrations for the Year of the Rat! Run Run Rat would surely approve!

And if you don’t have your copy of The Tale of Run Run Rat yet, click here to purchase right away!

A fabulous visit to the Grade 3s at Canadian International School!

January 22, 2020 at 1:52 pm | Posted in Canadian International School Hong Kong, Chinese festivals, Chinese New Year, Hong Kong Schools | Leave a comment
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A big HELLO to the fabulous Grade 3s at Canadian International School, who I visited on Monday! They’re currently learning about how culture is reflected through story-telling, so a funny story reading of The Tale of Pin Yin Panda, which retells the ancient Chinese legend of Lord Buddha’s Race and how the 12 animals got into the Chinese Zodiac, was just the ticket! After the story reading we had a terrific Q and A session where we discussed the real reason why pandas aren’t in the Chinese Zodiac, as well as why all the other animals are! Many thanks to teacher-librarian Colleen Williams (below) for hosting me!

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