Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Joyce K. Kessel
Illustrator:  Nancy Carlson 
Non Fiction
For ages 4 to 8
Lerner, 2004   ISBN: 1575055821

Every year millions of Americans celebrate Halloween. Many of these men, women, and children have no idea what the roots of this festive day are. Long ago, the ancient Celts celebrated New Year’s Eve on October 31st, the special night of their god Samhain, who was their god of death. The Celt’s believed that Samhain came back to earth on October 31st, bringing the dead with him. To frighten off these fearful specters, the Celts lit bonfires, and they wore costumes.

After the Romans conquered the Celtic peoples, the happy festival of Pomona, the goddess of fruit, combined with Samhain’s celebrations to become one less dark festival. People not only tried to scare away evil, they also celebrated the fruits of harvest.

In this interesting “On my own holidays” title, the author helps young readers to better understand where their favorite Halloween traditions come from. Why do we call carved pumpkins jack o’ lanterns? Why do we go trick or treating? Why do many of us dress up as ghosts and witches during Halloween? These and many other questions are answered in this engaging early reader.