________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 27. . . .March 19, 2010

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Canada Day. (Celebrations in My World).

Molly Aloian.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4770-3 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-4752-9 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Canada Day-Juvenile literature.
Canada Day-History-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
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Holi. (Celebrations in My World).

Lynn Peppas.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4771-0 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-4753-6 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Holi (Hindu festival)-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
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Independence Day. (Celebrations in My World).

Molly Aloian.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4772-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-4754-3 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Fourth of July-Juvenile literature.
Fourth of July celebrations-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
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Mardi Gras and Carnival. (Celebrations in My World).

Molly Aloian.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4773-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-4755-0 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Carnival-Juvenile literature.
Carnival-History-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
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Presidents' Day. (Celebrations in My World).

Lynn Peppas.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4774-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-4756-7 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Presidents' Day-Juvenile literature.
Presidents-United States-History-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

   
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Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. (Celebrations in My World).

Lynn Peppas.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4775-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-4757-4 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Rosh ha-Shanah-Juvenile literature.
Yom Kippur-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
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St. Patrick's Day. (Celebrations in My World).

Molly Aloian.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4776-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-4758-1 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
St. Patrick's Day-Juvenile literature.
St. Patrick's day-History-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
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Valentine's Day. (Celebrations in My World).

Reagan Miller.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4777-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-4759-8 (RLB.).

Subject Heading:
Valentine's Day-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   

excerpt:

People also read from the Torah during Rosh Hashanah. The Torah includes the books of Jewish law and learning. The Torah is written mainly in Hebrew. The word "Torah" means "teachings" in Hebrew.

The Torah is made up of five books. It teaches traditions and Jewish history. It is kept in a special cabinet in the synagogue. The cupboard is called the Ark. It is a holy part of the synagogue. (From
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.)

 

These eight titles are the latest additions to the now 23-volume "Celebrations in My World" series designed for young readers. Each title examines the history, traditions, beliefs and celebrations of the featured holiday. Written in kid-friendly language, using fairly short sentences and simple vocabulary, the text is printed in a large, simple font on coloured backgrounds, adding visual appeal. Abundant, vibrant colour photographs (many of these very current, some examples being photos of U.S. President and First Lady Obama and of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall), drawings and maps highlight the main concepts while "Did you know?" arcs provide additional information. Some titles also have a quiz at the back of the book while others provide one or two web site addresses for further study. A table of contents, a glossary and an index are included.

      Canada Day focuses on the national holiday celebrated on July 1st, providing a brief overview of the history behind the holiday and a description of the multicultural country that Canada has become. Other topics include the many ways in which Canadians in different parts of the nation celebrate the day (with the largest celebration held in Ottawa, the capital), and Canadian symbols such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the maple leaf, the flag and the anthem.

      Holi highlights the Hindu festival which celebrates the beginning of spring and major events in Hindu mythology. One of the least religious of holidays, Holi is all about having fun with family and friends. This title features two legends about Hindu gods as well as information about the special foods eaten at this time (vegetables fried in batter, sweets and dried fruit) and the various Holi traditions around the world. One event is the throwing of coloured powder at one another to remember the legend of Radha and Krishna in which the two main characters threw paint on each other. Readers can log on to a web site, send in an image file of themselves or their pets and then add colours.

      Americans commemorate their independence from Britain on the fourth of July. Independence Day explains the history behind the holiday, from the original 13 colonies and Thomas Jefferson's writing of the Declaration of Independence, to the early and present-day celebrations, the latter which include parades, baseball games, picnics and fireworks. There is information about the Star-Spangled Banner anthem, the American flag and Uncle Sam. A suggested activity is the creation of a crossword puzzle using words from American history, but this could be a bit difficult for the younger reader. It is also suggested that kids save their popsicle sticks in order to make an Independence Day craft, but there are no instructions for any type of art activity.

      Mardi Gras, also known as Shrovetide, is celebrated 47 days before Easter on the Tuesday before Lent. In Mardi Gras and Carnival, readers will learn about the significance of the three colours (gold, purple and green) associated with this holiday, the foods, dances and music styles (New Orleans jazz and Haitian Zouk, for instance), krewes (secret clubs that plan Mardi Gras events), and the special events themselves which range from parades with elaborate floats from which people throw little gifts and beads, to colourful masked costume balls. The last chapter of the book features Canada's Quebec Winter carnival, but it seems quite out of place.

      The third Monday in February is designated as Presidents' Day in the United States. Declared a federal holiday in 1885, its official name is Washington's Birthday. Presidents' Day highlights the biographies, albeit briefly, of both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, the holiday's symbols of cherry pie (after George Washington's cherry tree story), the stovepipe hat (as favored by Lincoln) and the colours of red, white and blue, and the ways in which Americans commemorate the holiday. Photos include those of the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, Mount Rushmore and the various currencies on which Washington and Lincoln are depicted.

      Following a brief description of the Jewish faith, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur explains the religious significance of these holidays, both of which occur in September or October and which, together, are known as the High Holy Days. Rosh Hashanah lasts for two days and is described as a period of new beginnings. This title talks about the special holiday preparations, the foods, such as challah (a type of bread), pomegranates and honey, giving to charity, and the rituals performed during a synagogue prayer service, such as blowing the shofar, reading from the Torah and throwing pieces of bread into a body of water, symbolizing the casting away of sins. Yom Kippur, the most important holiday of the Jewish year, remembers the story of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. This holiday is a time of fasting, introspection and prayer.

      St. Patrick was said to be a priest who travelled from village to village in Ireland, spreading the word of Christianity and helping to build schools and churches as well as performing miracles. In St. Patrick's Day, readers will find out about the symbols of this March 17th holiday (shamrocks, leprechauns and pots of gold) as well as the foods, music, dance and song, the "wearing of the green," and the many ways in which people all over the world, but especially in the United States, celebrate. Some interesting facts to note are that the Boston Celtics have a shamrock as their emblem and that several places take the holiday to new heights, with some examples being the Chicago River, which is dyed green every St. Patrick's Day, as is the water in some fountains in Australia, and the Empire State Building in New York, which glows with green lights every March 17th.

      The ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, held on February 15th to celebrate the start of spring, was the precursor to Valentine's Day, named after a sainted priest who was put to death by the emperor Claudius. After Claudius decreed that young men were prohibited from marrying because they were needed for the army, Valentine continued to wed couples in secret. (This is the only "legend" presented in the book, but there are many others. Perhaps the author could have included a few of them.) Valentine's Day also describes the first cards, made in rebus form in the 1400s, Valentine practices around the world, and the symbols, such as red hearts and Cupids, and popular gifts of this February 14th holiday. Readers can make an acrostic poem following the instructions at the back of the book.

      With just enough information for the target audience, these titles would be welcome additions in a public or school library or classroom.

Recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a former teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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