Festivals and Celebrations
Festivals have been a part of society since the dawn of civilization. This small book surveys approximately forty festivals. The majority of festivals either are briefly described in one page or over a double-page spread. In a few instances, multiple festivals (with a common theme) are covered under the same heading. The book is divided into five sections. The first section discusses New Year traditions in different parts of the world. After that, each section is nominally devoted to a season. July 4th and Guy Fawkes are not seasonal per se, but they are covered in summer and fall festivals, respectively. Colorful illustrations bring to life key aspects of these festivals and serve to enhance the narrative.
The book’s intent is to take “a journey around the world,” but the collection of festivals are more heavily weighted toward European ones. Celebrations from the Middle East, Central Asia, and Oceania are severely under-represented. Even when a chapter is devoted to a single festival, the chapter title does not contain the holiday name (“Great Balls of Fire” is the chapter title for Hogmanay). While it’s a creative chapter title, the lack of an index makes searching for festivals difficult. Festivals’ descriptions are limited to generally no more than two paragraphs. Unfortunately, the book does not have a list of references to help readers yearning to learn more about a specific festival.
While the book does an excellent job presenting the festivals, the breath of coverage necessary to be truly global seems to be lacking. The absence of an index and list of references limits its ability to be an effective reference.
Sandra Lawrence • Jane Newland, Illustrator