DAY OF THE DEAD by Tony Johnston


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 7
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 The team that collaborated so gracefully on Diego (1991) returns with another little book showing how a Mexican family celebrates el d°a de los muertos, the holiday commemorating the dead. Everyone spends days preparing special foods, which are carried in a candlelight procession to the cemetery for a nightlong celebration of singing, dancing, and feasting at the graves of loved ones. A number of Spanish words and phrases are worked into Johnston's simple text, as the children are repeatedly told ``espÇrense''--``wait''--when they try to sample the empanadas (meat pastries) or the pan de muertos (special ``bread of the dead,'' shaped like human figures and decorated with colored sugar). Winter's square acrylic paintings, in rich hues of green, pink, purple, blue, and gold, float within thick black borders that change with each turn of the page. The covers, endpapers, and title page are decorated with silhouettes reminiscent of the cut-paper banners that beautify the ofrendas, home altars bearing candles, fruit, flowers, and photographs of the departed. A warm, fictional introduction for an audience younger than that for the photo-essays by Kathryn Lasky (Days of the Dead, 1994) and Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith (Day of the Dead, 1994, not reviewed). (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-15-222863-2
Page count: 56pp
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1997


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