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Rice Is Life
     

Rice Is Life

by Rita Golden Gelman
 

In Bali, as in many parts of the world, rice is more than just a staple food-rice is life!

In Bali, life revolves around the planting and harvesting of rice. While eels slip through the mud and dragonflies flutter overhead, farmers plant seedlings in the wet rice field, or 'saweh.' Soon each plant is crowned with flowers, and tiny green kernels appear.

Overview

In Bali, as in many parts of the world, rice is more than just a staple food-rice is life!

In Bali, life revolves around the planting and harvesting of rice. While eels slip through the mud and dragonflies flutter overhead, farmers plant seedlings in the wet rice field, or 'saweh.' Soon each plant is crowned with flowers, and tiny green kernels appear. Rain nourishes the kernels, which grow plump and sweet. The green plants turn golden and ripe, and everyone helps harvest the grain. When the harvest is finished, the farmers give thanks to the goddess of rice for a successful crop.

From planting the seeds to harvesting the ripe grain, this beautiful, poetic book tells the story of rice and of the Balinese people, for whom rice is life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In verse and in descriptive prose, Gelman (Queen Esther Saves Her People) tours the rice fields, or sawahs, of Bali. On each spread, a poem focuses on the creatures in the sawah (e.g., the eels, the bats that eat the mosquitoes, the mice that nibble at the crops) and a paragraph explains an aspect of the planting, cultivation and harvesting of rice, the staple of the Indonesian diet. The poems are inconsistent. Lyrical passages coexist with sing-song or stale lines ("In the darkness of the sawah/ With a yellow moon above/ Comes a serenade of frogs/ Singing out their songs of love"). The prose, however, is graceful, whether explaining how rice plants sprout or how children roast dragonflies for snacks. The lesson culminates with a farmer and his family offering thanks to Dewi Sri, goddess of rice. Choi's (The Sun Girl and the Moon Boy) brightly bordered panels offer radiant scenes of the sawah. Imaginatively framed, the illustrations glow with saturated color--emerald green frogs, ruby red dragonflies, deep magenta sunsets, sunlit yellow grain--and make this book inviting as well as educational. Ages 4-9. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
On the tiny island of Bali rice or nasi is the staple served at every meal. It grows in a sawah or rice field and when it is harvested special thanks and offerings are made to Dewi Sri, the goddess of rice. For the people and the chain of insects and small animals who feed on them, rice is indeed life. From planting to harvest, details about growing rice comprise the narrative part of the book. The other part is a poetic description of activity at the sawah that includes eels in the slippery mud being hunted by egrets, mosquitoes chased by bats, and ducks scavenging grubs and rice after the harvest. The poem invites you to read it aloud and would be a wonderful way to teach verbs and adjectives. "There are mice in the sawah, Leaping, Squeaking, Squealing mice. Knocking down the healthy plants. Ravaging the rice." The author's love for Bali shines in both the poetry and simple text. The richly detailed paintings are filled with delicious color, enchanting the reader with Bali. 2000, Henry Holt and Company, Ages 4 to 10, $ 15.95. Reviewer: Laura Hummel
School Library Journal
In verse and in descriptive prose, Gelman (Queen Esther Saves Her People) tours the rice fields, or sawahs, of Bali. On each spread, a poem focuses on the creatures in the sawah (e.g., the eels, the bats that eat the mosquitoes, the mice that nibble at the crops) and a paragraph explains an aspect of the planting, cultivation and harvesting of rice, the staple of the Indonesian diet. The poems are inconsistent. Lyrical passages coexist with sing-song or stale lines ("In the darkness of the sawah/ With a yellow moon above/ Comes a serenade of frogs/ Singing out their songs of love"). The prose, however, is graceful, whether explaining how rice plants sprout or how children roast dragonflies for snacks. The lesson culminates with a farmer and his family offering thanks to Dewi Sri, goddess of rice. Choi's (The Sun Girl and the Moon Boy) brightly bordered panels offer radiant scenes of the sawah. Imaginatively framed, the illustrations glow with saturated color--emerald green frogs, ruby red dragonflies, deep magenta sunsets, sunlit yellow grain--and make this book inviting as well as educational. Ages 4-9. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805057195
Publisher:
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
05/01/2000
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
717,128
Product dimensions:
9.31(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.39(d)
Age Range:
4 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Rita Golden Gelman is the author of more than fifty books for children, including More Spaghetti, I Say! and Dawn to Dusk in the Galapagos. She lived in Bali, Indonesia for nine years, learning about the people and the important place that rice holds in their culture.

Yangsook Choi was born in Korea and lived there until she moved to New York to study at the School of Visual Arts. She has illustrated several books for children, including The Sun Girl and the Moon Boy. She took a trip to Bali to research the art for Rice is Life.

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