Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Happy, Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy, Happy Chinese New Year!

Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 4 to 7
Random House, 2003   ISBN: 978-0375826429

It is time to celebrate the New Year in China. Spring has come and the people must begin to get ready for “new beginnings.” There are seeds to buy but there are also many other preparations to make. Houses need to be cleaned and made ready for the New Year. Then everyone has to wash their hair and have a haircut. New clothes need to be bought. Financial and business matters need to be taken care of.

Then the cooking can begin. There are all kinds of special foods that are made at this time of year. Each delicacy has a meaning. Steamed buns for example “stand for good luck and good fortune.” Candied melon “symbolizes wealth, virtue, growth, and good health.”

Once the celebrating begins people will not only eat these foods in their homes but they will also take dishes of treats to friends and family as gifts. And this is just the beginning. They will light firecrackers in front of their homes to scare away evil spirits and have Lion Dances in front of stores to bring good luck. On the thirteen, fourteenth, and fifteen days of the New Year people will celebrate the Lantern Festival. Lanterns are lit to scare away evil spirits too. And of course there are the Dragon Dances which begin on New Years Day and which continue until the fifteenth day of the New Year.

This beautiful and interesting little book will give young children a colorful and memorable picture of what it is like to celebrate Chinese New Year in China. Detailed little illustrations fill the pages and capture the excitement and joy of this very special holiday.