Informational tidbits about world holidays will leave readers hoping for more details.
Originally published in Great Britain, this small volume (the size of an elongated board book), perhaps intended as a gift item, tries for diversity but is still heavily weighted toward European traditions. Arranged seasonally, it starts off with a posh New Year celebration with tuxedos and paper crowns (and white faces) although the text mentions “Not every community celebrates its new year on the first day of January. China, Iran, and India are among the many countries that call other dates ‘New Year.’ ” Some headings are amusing. “Great Balls of Fire!” (more memorable to adults than children) leads off the explanation of Hogmanay (New Year) in Stonehaven, Scotland, where inhabitants in kilts celebrate with incendiary derring-do, pictured in a thumbnail vignette. The fierce Hungarian masks used to scare winters away are fun, and the celebration of Holi in India shows up in a double-page spread exploding with color. The Eyo festival of the Yoruba people of Lagos, Nigeria, is presented as a “winter celebration”; it is paired with a Shetland Islands festival, which is the one that’s pictured. Islamic festivals are omitted. The Jewish celebration of Hanukkah is included briefly, but the Easter and Christmas (evidently celebrated in “every country”) descriptions don’t mention Christianity. There is neither index nor sources.
Despite its purported scope, of limited use in today’s multicultural classrooms and libraries. (Nonfiction. 8-11)