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A New Beginning: Celebrating the Spring Equinox

A New Beginning: Celebrating the Spring Equinox

By: Wendy Pfeffer
Illustrated by: Linda Bleck
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile 
Publication Date: January 2008
ISBN: 978-0525478744
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: December 2009

Spring has arrived and the countryside is coming to life again. The leaves have begun to bud, the flowers are sprouting, "woodchucks whistle, chickadees chirp and dragonflies emerge from rivers and ponds." Robins come back to start new families, new animals are being born and people start planting their gardens. It is a time when many different cultures celebrate the new beginning of the year. It is the spring equinox.

This book describes what the spring (vernal) equinox, the summer solstice, the fall(autumnal equinox) and the winter solstice are. In particular, it celebrates the spring equinox, a time of new beginnings, with the reader and talks about celebrations around the world to usher in this season. It talks about the Chinese New Year, the Persian No Ruz (New Year), the Indian celebration of Holi, the Mayan El Castillo pyramid, Maslenitsa (Pancake Week) in Russia, how the Cree Native American's honor the Great Spirit, Jewish Passover, the German festival Eostre (later changed to Easter) and the many ways ordinary families celebrate spring. Does your family have something special they do upon its arrival?

This book is very well written and researched and the lively art work, like the springtime equinox, makes it come alive. The text moves from culture to culture with ease and each celebration has just enough factual material to make the reader want to learn more. If you want a book for your homeschool or classroom shelves on a variety of cultural celebrations of spring's new beginnings, this is a perfect one. In the back of the book there is a more in depth explanation of the seasons. Also included are several interesting crafts and recipes to try with your children or students. Mmmm, those mashed potato Easter eggs sound good!

Quill says: A fun book to teach children about the Spring Equinox.

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