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Celebrations From Around the World

by Hannah Barnaby ; illustrated by João Fazenda

Pub Date: Oct. 5th, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-83866-539-5
Publisher: Phaidon

This Christmas tree–shaped book recognizes holiday traditions from around the globe.

The story opens with rhyming stanzas told in the first person from the point of view of a “plain pine.” Longing for decorations of its own, the tree counts down the 10 days until Christmas as forest animals travel and then bring back ornaments and symbols of holiday celebrations from all over the world. A group of racially diverse children decorate the tree with these ornaments. Each page features a different cultural custom, explained in a short paragraph, while four simple rhyming lines keep the pace going. On one spread, the tree is decorated with silver and gold spiderwebs; the text describes the Ukrainian legend of the Christmas spider. On another spread, readers learn about the Mexican celebration of Las Posadas. Because of the book’s shape, the bright illustrations largely feature the decorated tree. Though all of the various components of this book might have worked well individually, together they feel clunky. There are two stories happening at once—one about the pine tree’s decorations, the other a short nonfiction piece about celebrations around the world—which makes for a disjointed, split age-level reading experience. The large, awkward shape of the book is more gimmicky than purposeful.

Physically cumbersome with a well-meaning yet muddled storyline.

(Board book. 3-5)