Lights, bonfires, fireworks and candles: All are used throughout the world to celebrate a great range of holidays.
As the book moves through the year, a child introduces himself or herself and then provides information on such celebrations as Chinese New Year; St. Joseph’s Day in Valencia, Spain, when Las Fallas is celebrated with the burning of large puppets; Nowruz, a pre-Islamic New Year festival in Iran when people jump over bonfires to bring good luck in the coming year; and Inti Raymi, the Peruvian sun festival. The spread for July brings together Independence Day celebrations from several countries, including Canada, the United States, Argentina, the Bahamas, France and Belgium. Although light is mentioned in some of these short descriptions, it’s not necessarily a focal point. The information provided about the holidays is accurate but limited, and there are no sources, maps or related activities. The acrylic and ink illustrations are garishly intense, and although digital techniques are also used, they have an unattractively retro look. The red circles on many people’s cheeks are a very artificial device.
This book will be useful as a starting point for teachers, librarians and students who want to search out some interesting festivals to compare and contrast, but it’s not as enlightening as it could be. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 8-10)