Review Blog

Feb 14 2020

Under the Milky Way: traditions and celebrations beneath the stars by Frane Lessac

cover image

Candlewick Press, 2020. ISBN: 9781536200959. 31pp.
(Age: 5-10) Recommended. Lovers of festivals and Astronomy enthusiasts are in for a wonderful time as Lessac takes the reader around North America looking at different places and their traditions, all under the Milky Way. Beginning with the ever popular Halloween festival, readers will be enthralled by the detailed illustrations of what the festival looks like in Salem, Massachusetts, with pumpkins peering from all the houses, ghosts and spiders adorning the trees and children all dressed up in costumes. Then there is the information about the origins of the Halloween festival, and Salem. This formula of very colourful and detailed illustrations with captions about the tradition and the place visited is followed as readers find about ice skating in Maple Grove, Minnesota, dragon dancers in San Francisco, night time markets in Toronto, Canada, dog racing in Nome, Alaska, the Nations dancing in Seattle, Washington and so on. At the top of the page is information about the night time celebration in large print which will facilitate reading the book aloud, and the smaller captions of information could be used for discussion about the cities and the festivals.
Two pages of information about the Milky Way and star formations is given at the back of the book and finally readers are instructed to find Lessac's dog Banjo, which is featured on every page. This will immediately make the reader turn back to inspect the busy, brightly coloured pages with all their tiny figures to seek out the small brown dog.
A companion to Lessac's Under the Southern Cross, this book is ideal for libraries and classrooms where children will learn not only about festivals in North America but some of its geography and history as well. Themes; Astronomy, Festivals, Night and Day, Galaxies.
Pat Pledger

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