Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Happy New Year’s Day

A Happy New Year’s Day

Roch Carrier
Illustrator:  Gilles Pelletier 
For ages 6 to 9
Tundra Books, 1991   ISBN: 978-0887762673

When Roch was four years old he began to remember things, to have memories which he would remember for many years to come. The first of these memories is of New Years Day in 1941. War was raging in Europe and though Roch did not understand this, it was affecting his world in many ways.

The preparations for this special day had begun months before. In August Roch's grandmother had picked cherries to turn them into the cherry wine that they would drink on New Year's Day. In December Roch's grandmother and mother began the holiday baking so that there would be delicious pies, cookies and candies to eat during the holiday season.

On New Year's Day Roch discovers that a special gift is waiting for him under the Christmas tree - a bright red locomotive train of his own to play with. Roch is delighted by his gift and is in high good humor when it is time for the family to go to Grandmother's house for the big New Year's Day feast.

Grandmother's house is full of family, good smells, and good wishes. At last it is time to sit down at the table and the celebrations can begin.

This is a wonderful portrait of a Canadian family celebration that took place a long time ago. Though some of the traditions may have changed over time, the sentiments, good wishes, and dreams of the people at the party are just like the ones that we experience today. Richly colored folk art style paintings give the reader a picture of village life when phones were still a novelty, and when people still took sleigh rides behind a team of dashing horses.