NEW BEGINNINGS

CELEBRATING BIRTH

This entry in the Life Times series takes a somber but serviceable look at the ways newborns are welcomed into the fold in six major world religions. Every religion has special traditions: Buddhists celebrate the birth of Buddha more than they do individual babies; Jews have more elaborate rituals—including circumcision—for boys than for girls; the rituals of Islam include shaving off the baby’s hair; in the Hindu religion, the priest works out the child’s horoscope. The approach is more studious than entertaining; full-color photographs help with unfamiliar items described in the text. Along with other entries in the series covering death rituals, marriage ceremonies, and coming-of-age celebrations, this book is a useful multicultural tool. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 25, 1999

ISBN: 0-87226-286-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1998

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More-systematic treatments abound, but the airy tone and quick-facts presentation give this some potential as a...

MYTHOLOGY

OH MY! GODS AND GODDESSES

From the Basher History series

In Basher’s latest set of breezy “self”-portraits, 58 gods, demigods and mythological creations of diverse sort step up in turn to the microphone.

The entrants are limited to the ancient Egyptian, Norse and Greco-Roman pantheons and arranged in no particular order within their respective chapters. They range from the usual celebrities like Poseidon (“rhymes with ‘Joe Biden’ ”), Odin and Osiris to some who have gotten less press, such as Hebe—“Waitress to the Olympians”—and Gefjon, Aesir goddess of plowing. Along with mixing in such non-Olympians as Odysseus, Budzik swells the ranks by lending voices to Bifrost, Yggdrasil and even the battle of Ragnarok. The author’s introductory claim that the gods gave mortals “something to believe in and ideals to aspire to when life was looking bleak” is massively disingenuous considering the speakers’ own accounts of their exploits (Hel complains, “It’s really grim here. I get the dreariest dead”). Nevertheless, the sex and violence are toned down to, for instance, Hera’s tart reference to “my hubby’s mortal girlfriends” and Isis’ allusion to “complicated family vibes” (following her brother/husband Osiris’ dismemberment by their brother, Seth). In a radical departure for Basher, some of his dolllike cartoon figures bear grimaces rather than cutesy smiles.

More-systematic treatments abound, but the airy tone and quick-facts presentation give this some potential as a lighter-than-air refresher. (chart and foldout poster of Greek/Roman equivalents) (Mythology. 10-12)

Pub Date: July 22, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7534-7171-5

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Kingfisher

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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THE CHILDREN OF MICRONESIA

The thousands of islands between Hawaii and the Philippines have a total land mass smaller than Rhode Island's. According to the author, their first settlers came from Southeast Asia thousands of years ago and remained relatively isolated until successive waves of explorers, settlers, and soldiers from Portugal, Spain, Germany, Britain, Japan, America, Australia, Korea, and China, began arriving in the 16th century. In this colorful photo essay, Hermes focuses on 15 children reflecting different cultural backgrounds on different islands. His descriptions of everyday life are vivid, but brief. Only one map is provided, with many islands shown no larger than a period and others not even represented. Still, a fascinating glimpse of little-known cultures struggling to keep their identities and maintain traditions while assimilating new cultural elements. Brief pronunciation guide; glossary; index. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: June 16, 1994

ISBN: 0-87614-819-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1994

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