________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 17. . . .January 7, 2011

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Boxing Day. (Canadian Celebrations).

Jennifer Howse.
Calgary, AB: Weigl, 2011.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $23.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-77071-638-4 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-1-77071-637-7 (hc.).

Grades 2-3 / Ages 7-8.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

** /4

 
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Father's Day. (Canadian Celebrations).

Blaine Wiseman.
Calgary, AB: Weigl, 2011.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $23.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-77071-635-3 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-1-77071-634-6 (hc.).

Grades 2-3 / Ages 7-8.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

** /4

 
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Labour Day. (Canadian Celebrations). .

Jessica Morrison.
Calgary, AB: Weigl, 2011.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $23.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55388-620-4 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-1-55388-619-8 (hc.).

Subject Heading:
Labour Day-Canada-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-3 / Ages 7-8.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

** /4

 
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Mother's Day. (Canadian Celebrations).

Laura Pratt.
Calgary, AB: Weigl, 2011.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $23.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-77071-632-2 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-1-77071-631-5 (hc.).

Grades 2-3 / Ages 7-8.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

** /4

 
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Thanksgiving Day. (Canadian Celebrations).

Jessica Morrison.
Calgary, AB: Weigl, 2011.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $23.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55388-614-3 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-1-55388-613-6 (hc.).

Grades 2-3 / Ages 7-8.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

** /4

 
   

excerpt:

The song "Good King Wenceslas" is about Wenceslas, the Duke of Bohemia. The song says that on St. Stephen's Day, the duke helped a man in need. He gave the man food and supplies to last the rest of the winter. The song is about offering charity and doing good deeds for others on this day. (From Boxing Day.)

Part of the 13-volume "Canadian Celebrations" series, designed to introduce young readers to various holidays, these titles explain the reason for the featured holiday, trace its history and symbols, and discuss current practices and activities associated with the special day. Though the majority of each book deals with the Canadian version of the holiday, there is mention of how the day is celebrated in other parts of the world. Each title is comprised of 10 chapters and includes a table of contents, a four-word pictorial glossary and a brief index. (How effective the glossary is at explaining some of the concepts is questionable. For example, the word "peace" shows a photograph of a dove, "good deeds" shows a girl loading a dishwasher, and "charity" shows a hand dropping coins into another person's hand. These pictorial definitions would likely require an adult's assistance in explaining the idea, or, perhaps, they should have been omitted entirely.) Each of the chapters consists of a double-page spread with a single paragraph on one side and an accompanying photograph on the other. The text is printed within a box in a large, plain font. Fairly short sentences and simple explanations are just right for the targeted audience. The covers are bright, colourful and attractive, as are the illustrations, most of which are colour photographs, though there are a few black and white archival photos. One of the strengths of the photos is that they depict people from different races and cultures.

     Also known as St. Stephen's Day, Boxing Day is celebrated on December 26th. It was declared an official holiday in Great Britain in 1871, but not until 1931 in Canada. Boxing Day highlights the history of the holiday, with the "boxes" referring to metal containers that were placed outside churches for offerings to St. Stephen to help the needy. These boxes were opened on December 26th. In keeping with the box theme, servants in England were given gifts in boxes by their employers and also got the day off after Christmas. Today's Boxing Day activities might include shopping, participating in winter sports, or just spending time with family and friends.

     In Canada, Father's Day is held on the third Sunday in June. The holiday began almost 4,000 years ago in Babylonia when a boy carved a card out of clay and presented it to his father, but the first official Father's Day in this country was in 1910. Father's Day also features traditions in other parts of the world - Nepal, Thailand and Germany - where the holiday is celebrated on different days than it is in Canada. Wearing a white rose to honour one's father who is deceased, or wearing a red rose to honour one's living father, is one of the lesser known traditions of this holiday. In this title, the author is careful to state that the special day not only honours dads, but also other significant men in a child's life, such as uncles, brothers and grandfathers. (The same in said in Mother's Day, but with female role models instead of male.)

     Labour Day focuses on the reasons for the holiday, which falls on the first Monday of September. On this day, people pause to reflect on fairness in the workplace and the many positive changes that have occurred in working conditions thanks to those who stood up to their employers and made themselves heard through parades, marches, strikes and the formation of unions. Labour Day has also come to symbolize the final weekend of summer vacation and an end to the camping and cottage season. Many people spend the day participating in leisure activities and watching football games on television.

     Mother's Day features the holiday that is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. This title discusses the origins of paying homage to mothers, from the ancient Greek festival honouring Cybele, the mother of Greek gods, to modern day practices such as giving gifts, flowers and homemade crafts to moms or making them a special meal. Other topics in this book include Mothering Sunday traditions which began in the 1600s, Mother's Day celebrations in various parts of the world, and the official flower, the white carnation, associated with this holiday.

     Thanksgiving showcases the harvest holiday which, in Canada, has been marked officially on the second Monday of October since 1931 (although it took place on other dates from 1879 until then). Hundreds of years ago, explorers Martin Frobisher and Samuel de Champlain celebrated their safe arrival in the new land with a feast of Thanksgiving while, today, families commemorate the day with a special meal that usually includes turkey and pumpkin pie, served on a table decorated with a cornucopia, a symbol of the holiday. Aboriginal peoples, such as the Blackfoot, hold a Harvest Ceremony with dances, games and races, while people of the Jewish faith celebrate Sukkoth, a seven-day harvest festival. This title also takes a look at fun activities, such as Pumpkinfest, in which participants can enter a scarecrow-decorating contest or a pumpkin weigh-off.

     With just enough information to satisfy a young reader, these books fulfill their purpose, but they are fairly pricey for what only amounts to 10 paragraphs of expository text.

Recommended with reservations.

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

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to mailto:cm@umanitoba.ca?subject=CM.

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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