Feasts and Festivals Around the World: From Lunar New Year to Christmas

little bee. Feb. 2022. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781499812176.
PreS-Gr 3–Across the span of a year’s four seasons, readers learn about how 12 different countries observe a traditional holiday. Each holiday is described as a way to give thanks, honor loved ones, and come together as a community. Have you ever done the Small Frog Dance to celebrate summer’s longest day? The Swedes do! Or perhaps there is one day in the year when you are allowed to splash your grandparents with cold water, as part of a celebration called Songkran, a Buddhist water festival meant to provide some relief during the hottest part of the year. The pages are laid out in spreads, with a short rhyming introduction to the festival on the left page. On the right page, in tiny unattractive font, is a more detailed and interesting description of the ways in which the people of each country celebrate. Across the two-page span is a colorful array of the artifacts, people, and foods one would expect to see in that country during their holiday season. The author conveys just enough information to give kids a good sense of how the holiday is celebrated. The last two pages include a map of the world with each country’s location identified, along with their flag and a drawing of the food most closely associated with their festival. This introductory book is meant for young readers, but the readability of the text is complex enough that it will take a more experienced reader to decode the descriptions. A table of contents or index would have been helpful.
VERDICT For any collection in need of more books on international celebrations, this will suffice; but without a table of contents or index, students conducting research projects on specific countries may overlook this one.

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