Dewey Guide: Holidays -- Winter

Subjects Listed in This Directory

Erlbach, Arlene.  HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYWHERE.  Illus by Sharon Lane Holm.
    Brookfield, CT: Millbrook, 2000.  48p.   0-7613-1707-6; lib.bdg., 23.90.    99-57335
    Gr.1-8+     394.26

    The new years customs of 20 countries are listed in alphabetical order with an identical two-page spread for each country.  Date, name of holiday, greeting with pronunciation, project, list of ingredients needed, steps for making the project, and a map of the world showing each country.  Not all of the holidays are in January and the introduction explains reasons why some cultures celebrate the new year during spring planting or harvest time.   Scotland’s project is singing “Auld Lang Syne;” lyrics and music are included.  Some other projects include a puppet, bracelet, musical instrument, food, plant, mask, and a game.  Mexico’s project is connected with numbers and months so both are given in Spanish.  Phonetic pronunciation is provided for the numbers but not the months and readers are told to see Chile for the pronunciation.  The same custom of eating a grape for each of the twelve months was told in the article about Chile.  Except that many Spanish-speaking countries share this grape-eating custom, it is unclear why the author chose to repeat the list of months when there is so much other information to share.  This is nitpicking; the book is one that should be purchased by even the smallest elementary school and public libraries.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center
    32 years of experience as a school library/media specialist

Illus. By Paige Billin-Frye.  Morton Grove, IL:  Albert Whitman & Co., 2004. 
            40p.  ISBN 0-8075-3066-2 hb. $10.95    Gr. 3-6    j394.261

           Once you read this book, you will know everything about Groundhog Day and its origins.  Groundhog Day began as a celebration of the halfway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, almost exactly six months after Halloween.  Readers will also learn about seasons and the biological nature of groundhogs.  The book is sprinkled with groundhog jokes, and the last chapter is dedicated to organizing your own Groundhog Day celebration.  This informative text is illustrated with bright, friendly pictures.  It’s a perfect fit for the classroom or public library.
           Lynette Suckow, Youth Services, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI  

Spirn, Michele.  NEW YEAR.  Illus. with photos.  World Celebrations and Ceremonies Series.   Woodbridge, CT:
        Blackbirch, 1999.  24p.  1-56711-249-8; lib.bdg., $14.95   98-12118     Gr. 3-5      394.26

        For each of the ten countries,  there is a map of the country and one of the world which places that country in it, making it easier for children to place the country in perspective.  Within the country, people celebrate the new year in numerous ways and sometimes more than one custom is given.  For example, in the United States, there is mention of Times Square, the Rose Parade and football game, and the Mummers' parade in Philadelphia.  The map, however, shows San Francisco and Los Angeles but not Pasadena.  New York and Philadelphia are shown.  Maps seem to have been placed in the book without regard to the text.  This is an irritating oversight that careful editing should have caught.  The article on England might have been called The British Isles because it mentions English children near Scotland and Wales.  The information about Rosh Hashanah in Israel does not mention that Jewish people no matter where they live around the world, also celebrate this holiday.  The same can be said for the article about the Chinese New Year that occurs between January 21 and Feb. 19.  There are many Chinese-Americans who celebrate this festival.  Besides the Chinese New Year, Spirn mentions other New Year's festivals that are not held Jan. 1.  The Hindu celebration of Diwali and the Jewish Rosh Hashanah are fall festivals.  The Igbo of Nigeria celebrate in the spring.     A glossary, list of further reading, tourism web sites, and index, conclude the book.  Despite the oversights mentioned,  this is a timely book to have for the beginning of the new  millennium or for multicultural studies.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center
        32 years of experience as a school library-media specialist



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