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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Birthdays: Beyond Cake and Ice Cream. Written by Nikki Tate and Dani Tate-Stratton. Orca Book Publishers, 2017. $24.95 all ages

"If you are a single man turning 30 in Germany, there may be some public housework in your future! Tradition says a single young man should sweep the steps of city hall. Helpful friends even gather to throw dirt, confetti, bottle caps and other hard-to-sweep items onto the stairs to give him more to do! This is supposed to be a bit embarrassing ... " 

Orca Origins is a series that is worthy of attention, and of use for public, school and classroom libraries. So, I am pleased to share this newest addition here today.

Nikki and Dani Tate have shared many birthday celebrations, as mothers and daughters so often do.

"Over the years we've enjoyed
borrowing birthday traditions from many different places
and had a lot of fun inventing ways to celebrate that are
unique to our family."

Memories from such celebrations make their way onto the pages of this fine book that explores the history of birthdays in its first chapter. From the ancient Egyptians to modern times, the authors explore the origins of such celebrations. In fact it is only in fairly recent times, when people began to record actual birthdates, that people actually took note of them. Birthday Treats information boxes add interest, as do captioned archival photos and tidbits of pertinent information. Give It A Whirl encourages readers to journal responses to suggestions. And the piece de resistance ...  a recipe for Omi's Apple Cake which is  always served at Tate birthday celebrations!

The focus in Chapter Two concerns a world view of how birthdays are observed.

"The Asante people of Ghana
call their birthday a soul day.
Special washing rituals, feasting
and wearing white clothing are all
part of the festivities."

I found it very interesting to learn more about the guests, the foods, the gifts given, the games and songs enjoyed by so many. The authors include two personal stories from Stevie and Hoka that honor their memories of special birthdays celebrated with family in a variety of countries.

In the third and final chapter, text concerns special birthdays as they are celebrated around the world.
These milestones vary; honoring the young and the old, commemorating growing up, and taking special note of certain ages in a person's life. Again, two personal stories are included and a recipe.

As we have come to expect, the book is beautifully designed, well-researched and will appeal to many. It is sure to inspire new ideas for an upcoming party!

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