Year of the Sheep


  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Immedium (November 25, 2014)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 36 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1597021040
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1597021043
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 3 – 8 years
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ 690L
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ Preschool – 3
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 14.5 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 10 x 0.5 x 10.5 inches

Oliver Chin (Author), Alina Chau (Illustrator)


From School Library Journal

K-Gr 2—Young sheep Sydney and the shepherd’s daughter Zhi “were best buddies who watched each other’s back, took unusual strolls, and always swung for the fences.” As in Chin’s earlier introductions to animals of the Chinese zodiac, colloquial narrative and cartoon-style scenes sketch a year’s activities shared by the featured animal and a child. The story here consists of bits of daily misadventure. In unsheeplike fashion, Sydney climbs to high places, getting caught in an apple tree and falling down a chimney. Zhi comes to the rescue most times, but midway in the telling, a plot develops in which Sydney discovers the problem in a damned-up river and rounds up animals, tame and wild, to carry out her plan. “Naturally everyone wasn’t used to cooperating. Yet, big and small, they agreed to lend a hand” in applying a lever to move the large rock impeding the river’s flow. Awkward in telling and construction, the story includes multiple lessons in basic engineering (STEM alert!), friendship and teamwork, and fundamentals of the Chinese zodiac, explained prior to the story and at the conclusion. The comical characters, most with large round eyes, move through meadows softly sketched in pretty colors. In the end, readers are invited to apply an app symbol to their iPads, where “kids will be locked in thanks to plenty of interactive games and activities, quality narration and music.” With 2015 being the Year of the Sheep, some teachers in the early grades may like the possible uses.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston


“This year, Chin introduces a new collaborator, San Francisco artist Alina Chau, whose whimsically watercolor-ed, large-eyed characters seem to beckon you right onto the page…Any way you turn the page, you’ve got another intrepid, courageous, tenacious tale to enjoy.”
– Smithsonian BookDragon

“Oliver Chin creates characters that embody ‘qualities’ of the year and weaves a fun story about humans and animals working together.” – Planet Smarty Pants

“readers born in the year of the sheep are kindhearted and cooperative, and Chin uses these traits well to create a sweet, wild and woolly heroine. For the first time, Chau illustrates for this series, and she is a good fit. Some brush strokes and scenes are reminiscent of Chinese brush painting, and little surprises, such as a resting tiger counting sheep in Chinese, add mysticism and charm. The Year of the Sheep is cause for celebration, especially for fans of the series.”

“With themes that include cooperation, friendship, creativity and even a dose of engineering, this delightful picture book is an excellent choice to share with young children. The soft watercolor illustrations by Alina Chau are a perfect fit for the story.” – Baltimore County Public Library

“Every year we share author Oliver Chin’s new Tales from the Chinese Zodiac book, so we’d be remiss not to mention 2015’s Year of the Sheep, which is a wonderful addition to any baby’s library. The best part is that you can pull it out and enjoy it for years, even when she’s old enough to read it herself. Sniffle.” – Cool Mom Picks

“In this tenth title in the Tales of the Chinese Zodiac series, Chin and Chau introduce Sydney, a baby sheep with enormous blue eyes, cottony swirls of wool, and a strong desire to “explore off the beaten path.”…Working in watercolor, Chau creates a dewy-eyed, playfully caricatured cast of animals and humans that should hold readers’ interest”

“Combined with Chau’s stylized illustrations in a rainbow of colors, the prose in The Year of the Sheep demonstrates the personality of one particular little lamb Sydney, the story’s main character….Parents will enjoy sharing this picture book about the rewards of being a team player.” – Good Reads with Ronna

About the Author

Oliver Chin is the author of many children’s book such as Julie Black Belt, Welcome to Monster Isle, and the popular annual series Tales from the Chinese Zodiac. He co-wrote The Discovery of Ramen, The Discovery of Fireworks & Gunpowder, and The Discovery of Anime and Manga from The Asian Hall of Fame series. His family lives in San Francisco, CA.

Alina Chau illustrated the children’s books The Year of the Sheep and The Treehouse Heroes. She was a 3D story artist at LucasFilm on the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series, and helped produce video games such as Ben10, Spyro, Gears of War, The Incredible Hulk, God of War, Silent Hill, and Medal of Honor. She has a Master of Fine Arts in Animation from UCLA, School of Theater, Film, and Television. Visit


Sydney is a bold lamb with a keen nose for adventure. Her breathtaking journey celebrates the new year. 2015 was The Year of the Sheep.

The lamb Sydney befriends the shepherd girl Zhi and other animals. But to her parents’ dismay, Sydney may walk to the beat of a different drummer. However, after a storm strikes and causes a problem for everyone, can Sydney show them how valuable a sheep’s qualities can be?

Befriending people and the other zodiac animals, Sydney shows the best traits of people born in The Year of the Sheep, Illustrating expressive characters and vibrant action, artist Alina Chau creates an inviting new world for readers to explore. Tales from the Chinese Zodiac is a popular annual children’s book series showcasing the twelve charming animals that embody the Chinese New Year.

Sydney’s stirring travels to discover her real nature will delight children and adults alike. Kids love identifying with how each animal embarks on a unique quest to discover his or her own character: Bright and dynamic illustrations will appeal to parents, those interested in Asian culture, and, of course, animal lovers.

Teachers appreciate how Tales from the Chinese Zodiac is the only English series on each of the animals of the Chinese lunar calendar. Librarians like how it one of the longest-running children’s book series featuring Asian American themes. Now readers everywhere can enjoy these entertaining and original tales.

“Oliver Chin’s Tales from the Chinese Zodiac delight the eyes and heart…. The Year of the Sheep is no exception, with beautiful artwork and an inspirational message.”
– Sampan

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