K-Gr 4An eclectic collection of 14 poems celebrating festivals from around the world. The book begins in January with the Chinese New Year, ends in December with Kwanzaa, and includes the Vietnamese Tet Nguyen-Dan, Iranian Now-Ruz, Jewish Purim, Muslim Ramadan and Id-Ul-Fitr, Hindu Diwali, and Mexican Day of the Dead. The poems themselves are simple, often as much explanation as lyric. What makes the volume special, however, is the inspired paring of text and artwork. Each poem appears on a double-page spread; the illustrations, from the delicate blooms of "Cherry Blossom Festival" to the exuberant carnival figures of "Mardi Gras," communicate a wide range of moods. As in any collection, some poems work better than others. "When pokeweed berries ripened,/when leaves turned/red and gold,/the young men danced The Old Men's Dance,/like Indians of old," intones the opening lines of a verse celebrating a Creek Indian harvest festival. The words plus the accompanying illustrationpurple pumpkins, orange moon, black skyelicit a shiver of mystery and delight. A glossary includes a brief explanation of each festival's name, time of year, and basic symbols or principles. Similar in format and approach to the poet and painter's Celebrations (Holiday, 1985), this title should have wide appeal.Ellen D. Warwick, Winchester Public Library, MA
Livingston and Fisher collaborate again as they did in "Celebrations" (1985) to combine poetry and painting in a lively and useful picture book. Here they cover 14 of the world's festivals, from the well known (Mardi Gras, Chinese New Year, etc.) to the more obscure (Now-Ruz, Diwali). Livingston varies her style according to the festival, using haiku for the Cherry Blossom Festival, and a foot-tapping rhyme and rhythm for the Creek Indian Busk, even making one poem into a miniplay. Fisher uses his characteristic intense colors, large shapes, and strong brush strokes to create a powerful impression, while painting the flowers and glowing candles with delicacy. A description of each festival, including place of origin and ways it is celebrated, is appended.
Festivals ( March 15, 1996; 32 pp.; 0-8234-1217-2): In a companion to this pair's Celebrations (1985), colorful streamers beckon readers toward 14 poems commemorating holidays, from the Creek Indian New Year and the Vietnamese festival of clean slates, to the bonfires of the Iranian Now-Ruz. The celebrations aren't all noisy: cherry blossoms get quiet praise, as do the saplings of Arbor Day. In fact, the timbre of Livingston's words often variesfierce for Purim, hushed for Luciadagen, suppressed excitement for the Hindu Diwali. Fisher's paintings are also varied, a series of memorable images evoking entire events and cultures. (glossary) (Picture book/poetry. 5-10)
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