KWANZAA

AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN CELEBRATION OF CULTURE AND COOKING

Kwanzaa is an invented holiday, created in 1966 by African- American Maulana Karenga, who, Copage (a New York Times Magazine editor) here says, ``synthesized elements from many African harvest festivals.'' Observed throughout the week after Christmas by an increasing number of black Americans, it is loaded with symbolic rituals and capped by a feast on December 31 or January 1. As Copage describes it, the holiday is approached in a spirit of ``jazzy'' improvisation: Some celebrate Kwanzaa instead of Christmas, some after, and some ``Kwanzafy'' their Christmas celebrations. And, as with any celebration, the food is crucial. Copage, who writes well and with a mercifully light touch, has put his book together in the same spirit, including African folktales, profiles of black Americans, anecdotes and significant events from black history, and a lot more. It's all relatable to black pride and Kwanzaa principles, thus proper food for thought for families celebrating this evolving holiday, though often far removed from the purview of a conventional cookbook. Still, cookbook it is, with more than 125 recipes—ranging from grilled marinated rabbit to sweet-potato muffins—that do full justice to black cuisine as it has evolved in Africa, Brazil, the Caribbean, and the American South. The recipes and Copage's concise and personable background notes show respect for the food as well as the culture—and they outclass any existing Kwanzaa material by leagues.

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 1991

ISBN: 0-688-10939-X

Page Count: 324

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1991

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?

DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

Did you like this book?

more