好困好困的新年 / The Sleepy, Sleepy New Year

Words and illustrations by Meng Yanan. Translation by Daylight Publishing House.

Click on the image of the cover page to read the Chinese (by kind permission of Daylight Publishing House).

The autumn was about to pass.

Bear Paul grew sleepier and sleepier.

The rabbit family was busy taking vegetables home.

The little rabbit asked, “Mum, can we MAKE DUMPLINGS ourselves at the Chinese New Year?”

“Of course, my sweeties,” Mother Rabbit said.

What is the YEAR? And what are DUMPLINGS?

Bear Paul would sleep in his den every winter. He hadn’t celebrated a Chinese New Year and nor had he tasted the dumplings.

Bear Paul’s sleepiness disappeared all in a flash.

He took the Forest Encyclopedia from the bookshelf to see what on earth “Year” meant:

Year: Also called the “New Year”. The first day of the new year in the lunar calender is called the “Spring Festival” in China.
The last day of a Chinese lunar year is called the “New Year’s Eve”. Every family gather together to greet the new year on this evening.
People also eat dumplings on the New Year’s Eve.

“YEAR, NEW YEAR, Spring Festival and New Year’s EVE…. Oh, they’re over my head,” Bear Paul murmured to himself.

Oh, he got a good idea!

“I’m going to invite my friends in the forest to CELEBRATE THE CHINESE NEW YEAR together. Then I’ll know what the YEAR is.”

Dear Friend,

Hello!

You and your family are invited to celebrate the Chinese New Year with me together in my den.

Yours,

Bear Paul

Zzz—Zzz—

New Year’s Eve came.

The FOX family were the first to come to the den, but Bear Paul was sleeping and snoring inside.

“Bear Paul, wake up. Let’s celebrate the Chinese New Year together!”

Bear Paul and the foxes PASTED THE SPRING FESTIVAL COUPLETS and PAPER-CUTS to the windows and they also built a giant SNOWBEAR together.

The mice family were the second to visit the den, but Bear Paul fell asleep again.

“Beep, beep,” the mice played the SUONA[1].

“Bear Paul, wake up. Let’s celebrate the Chinese New Year together!”

Bear Paul and the mice HUNG UP THE LANTERNS together. The red lanterns were hung on the tree. Wow, so festive!

The Rabbit family were the last to arrive, but Bear Paul fell asleep again.

“Pom pa-pom, pom pa-pom,” the rabbits played the drums and the gongs.

“Bear Paul, wake up. Let’s celebrate the Chinese New Year together!”

Mother Rabbit asked Bear Paul to roll the dough into thin round pieces with a rolling pin.

The little rabbits followed their mum’s way to wrap the filling and shape them into gold ingots. Aha, these are the DUMPLINGS!

The foxes took out a large pot to BOIL THE WATER.

The water was soon boiled, and then they put the DUMPLINGS in.

In a little while, the delicious smell floated out.

This was the first time Bear Paul had CELEBRATED THE CHINESE NEW YEAR with his friends and also the first time he had tasted the delicious DUMPLINGS.

“Ding-dong! Ding-dong! Ding-dong…,” here came the New Year’s bell. The sound of firecrackers could be heard in the forest and the night sky was lit up by the FIREWORKS. This was the first time Bear Paul had seen such a beautiful night.

“I love the Chinese New Year!”

 

[1] a Chinese double-reed woodwind instrument with a distinctively loud and high-pitched sound