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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Every Month Is A New Year: Celebrations Around the World, written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Susan L. Roth. Lee & Low Books, Fitzhenry & Whiteside. 2018. $26.99 ages 7 and up

"Dragon Dance
Chinese New Year
Hong Kong, China

Today my shy brother
has become part red dragon,
dancing joyfully in the square,
whipping his tail to the beat,
beat of the drum,
chasing away evil spirits ... "

A bit late with sharing a calendar for the new year, but ... Today is Chinese New Year - The Year of the Pig. It seems appropriate to share this with you now.

Marilyn Singer writes poetry with such style. This book takes the reader to many different parts of the world to learn how, and when, the new year is celebrated. A world map and an informative introduction prefaces a lovely beginning poem.

"The Year Turns

We choose the date.
From the earth's movement,
from the moon's phases,
these clocks and calendars
we create.
in parks and squares,
in temples and houses -
the year

Designed to move forward as a calendar does, each new turn presents another poem that focuses on a date, a country, and the name given to celebrating a new year. There are 16 celebrations in 14 countries, and they encompass an entire year from December 31 to December of the following year. Some are religious, some are secular, and some are a combination of the two.

The collage images that accompany each poem (which is conspicuously placed on a white background) are created from papers collected all over the world - and are absolutely stunning! Textured and very colorful, they give life and meaning to the poems shared.

 As she has proven in previous published works, Ms. Singer is adept at creating reverso poems. A case in point for the final entry:

"Turning the Year

the year,
in temples and houses,
in parks and squares.
we create
these clocks and calendars
from the moon's phases,
from the earth's movement.
We choose the date."

Amazing, as always!

Back matter includes a note about calendars, a list of the various greetings (with pronunciation), a descriptive paragraph or two about the many celebrations included, a useful glossary with pronunciation guide, and a lengthy list of sources.  It is worthy of your attention.

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