Mongoliaby Jan Reynolds
This photo essay explores the life of Dawa and Olana, two young cousins who come from a family of nomads on the grassy plains of Mongolia.
Children's Literature - Karen LeggettAfter photos of an imposing mountain landscape and a dramatic evening sky, two young boys begin to listen to their father tell stories. Their faces appear in shadows, lending both an other-worldy aura and also the familiarity of bedtime stories anywhere in the world. Throughout the book there is an excellent effort to find common points between the lives of boys in remote Mongolia and back home in America: the boys pester their father for their own horses; they have to share their first horse; one boy sneaks sweet cheese drying on the roof and we see him grinning with the cheese stuck between his teeth. You want to meet these boys and their father, who seems to smile warmly through all his hard-working day. The adults seem so sure in their everyday tasksfolding up their cloth homes, or gers, to move to greener pastures; tying the slats for a new wooden roof; heating milk for yogurt; preparing a horse for a first time rider. The photographs and the book design are excellent, easily moving the reader from page to page. Even older reluctant readers are likely to find the facts and photos compelling. The only missing piece of information is an acknowledgement that there are cities in Mongolia and not everyone lives a nomadic life on horseback. Notes at the end provide more thorough information about the author's journey to learn about Mongolia and the rhythms of its daily live. There is a good map on the endpapers and a teacher's guide available online. Reviewer: Karen Leggett
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