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Children's LiteratureThree Kings Day commemorates the visit of the Three Wise Men to the baby Jesus. In this book, we are invited into the home of Veronica and her family as they prepare to celebrate the holiday. This family is not an invention solely for the book—this is a real family who graciously opened their home to the author and photographer. Veronica's family is originally from Puerto Rico and Ecuador, and traditions from those countries continue on in their life in New York City. The children decorate special boxes to leave under their beds for the Three Kings—in Ecuador, they would have filled the boxes with grass for the Kings' camels, but it is too snowy and cold to find fresh grass so they decide to leave water for the camels instead. The text provides some background about Puerto Rico, and then goes on to explain more of the traditions of the holiday such as the music, the food and the parades. The photographs are well-reproduced, and you can certainly sense the cold in New York. The book also includes a recipe for arroz con dulce, a glossary and an index. 2004, Holiday House, Ages 8 to 12.
—Dr. Judy Rowen