CELEBRATE IN SOUTH ASIA

This is truly a fascinating and highly accessible survey of religious holidays and community festivals in India (Holi and the Pushkar Camel Fair), Sri Lanka (Esala Perahera—an astonishing procession honoring Buddha's tooth relic—and Wesak—Buddha's birthday), Bangladesh (Baishakhi—the Bengali New Year), Pakistan (Eid-ul-Fitr—breaking the Ramadan fast), Bhutan (Paro Tsechu—a dance festival), Myanmar (the Shwedagon Pagoda Festival), and Nepal (Tihar—the Newari New Year). Relatively few children in the US will have experienced these celebrations. Viesti and Hall's concise descriptions are a vivid mix of respectful reporting enlivened by kid-pleasing details. In a typical entry, describing Holi, they observe: ``Unlike most festivals in Asia, during Holi everyone wears their worst clothes'' because ``people take to the streets and throw gulal [colored powder] onto one another's faces.'' Three full-color photos offer exhilarating glimpses of Indians of all ages gleefully celebrating. Curious readers will find even more information in the photo captions. Fact-filled, congenial fare. (map) (Picture book/nonfiction. 5+)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-688-13774-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1996

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A PLUMP AND PERKY TURKEY

The leaves have changed, Thanksgiving nears—and the canny turkeys of Squawk Valley have decamped, leaving local residents to face the prospect of a birdless holiday. What to do? They decide to lure a bird back by appealing to its vanity, placing a want ad for a model to help sculptors creating turkey art, then “inviting” the bird to dinner. The ploy works, too, for out of the woods struts plump and perky Pete to take on the job. Shelly debuts with brightly hued cartoon scenes featuring pop-eyed country folk and deceptively silly-looking gobblers. Pete may be vain, but he hasn’t lost the wiliness of his wild ancestors; when the townsfolk come for him, he hides amidst a flock of sculpted gobblers—“There were turkeys made of spuds, / there were turkeys made of rope. / There were turkeys made of paper, / there were turkeys made of soap. / The room was full of turkeys / in a wall to wall collage. / For a clever bird like Pete / it was perfect camouflage.” He makes his escape, and is last seen lounging on a turkey-filled tropical beach as the disappointed Squawk Valleyites gather round the table for a main course of . . . shredded wheat. Good for a few giggles. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-890817-91-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2001

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JEREMY FINK AND THE MEANING OF LIFE

Years before he died, Jeremy Fink’s father prepared a box containing “the meaning of life” for his son to open on his 13th birthday. When Jeremy receives the box a few months before that momentous day, the keys are missing, and it’s up to him and his best friend Lizzy to find a way into the box. The search for the keys—or, failing the keys, the meaning of life itself—takes the two throughout New York City and into a spot of trouble, which lands them a very unusual community-service sentence: They must return treasures to the children, now grown, who pawned them long ago. This device brings Jeremy and Lizzy—both originals to the core—into contact with a calculated variety of characters, all of whom have their own unique angles on the meaning of life. Mass spins a leisurely tale that’s occasionally Konigsburg-esque, carefully constructed to give narrator Jeremy ample time to reflect on his encounters. It may be a subplot or two in need of a trim, and the resolution will surprise nobody but Jeremy, but agreeable on the whole. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-316-05829-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2006

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