SHANTÉ KEYS AND THE NEW YEAR'S PEAS by Gail Piernas-Davenport

SHANTÉ KEYS AND THE NEW YEAR'S PEAS

Age Range: 5 - 9
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Shanté’s family has a New Year’s tradition. The family has a feast that includes one special item: black-eyed peas. They believe eating the peas will bring them luck throughout the new year. Grandma discovers she has forgotten this crucial dish and sends Shanté out to find some. As Shanté travels from neighbor to neighbor, she learns the New Year’s food traditions of those families, and even though they don’t have the peas she needs, she invites them to dinner to try the ones she’s sure she’ll find. Written in rhyming couplets, the verse often falters annoyingly, making it difficult to read aloud without practice, but readers will find any number of new rhymes for the word “peas.” (Chef Ortiz is from Belize, for instance.) Bright, colorful illustrations portray Shanté’s energy and determination to save her family tradition, but, of course, these seem to be miracle peas that don’t need soaking overnight. Like Norah Dooley’s Everybody Cooks Rice (1991), this is a simple way to introduce young children to other cultures and traditions. The recipe for Grandma Louise’s Hoppin’ John provides a fun activity for families. (afterword) (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-8075-7330-3
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Whitman
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2007