By: Carolyn Otto
Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books
Publication Date: January 2009
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: December 2009
Chinese New Year, a holiday that is celebrated by "millions and millions" of people around the world begins on the first new moon of the new year. This holiday is typically celebrated for a week, but was "traditionally celebrated for 15 days." It's an exciting festival and everyone prepares for it long in advance. Everyone has to shop, clean house and clean up the streets. It is as if all the old will be swept away and the doors open to a happy and prosperous new year.
Everyone decorates with bright colors, especially the color red because that portends good luck. Gold of course signifies wealth. On red paper people use Chinese characters to write couplets, "poems or signs, calling out happy wishes and asking for good luck." These are hung around the doorway in each home because that is "where the new year will enter" each home. Lots of food is prepared for the celebration and every food has a special meaning. Once all is ready and New Year's Eve arrives, people gather and celebrate. At midnight everyone opens their "doors and windows . . . to let the old year out."
This bright, exciting and colorful book brings the Chinese New Year to life. The numerous vibrant photographs on each page combined with the text are very informative and draw the reader in very quickly. In the back of the book are more facts about the holiday, instructions on how to make a Chinese lantern, a discussion about the Chinese calendar, a recipe for fortune cookies, instructions on how to play the Drum and Flower Game, a glossary, a section discussing the origins of the holiday and additional recommended books and web sites.
Quill says: Let the celebration begin!