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Two African-American children participating in the traditional New Orleans Mardi Gras celebration see such sights as the Zulu and Rex parades, enjoying the songs, bright costumes, and gigantic floats. By the author of The Jazz of Our Street.
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In this disjointed picture book, two young narrators describe their activities on New Orleans' "day of street parties," a time when "Mardi Gras Indians" don "feathers, beads, and gemstones" to dance through the neighborhoods. The children also observe two festive parades called Zulu and Rex, which represent other segments of New Orleans history, then feast on favorite treats (gumbo, ham and peas) at a joyous family luncheon. Unless readers are already familiar with Mardi Gras, they will be at sea here. Though Shaik's (The Jazz of Our Street) text hints at Mardi Gras rituals, readers never learn the meaning behind the colorful traditions. Several passages and phrases are misleading or confusing, suggesting, for example, that the Mardi Gras "Indians" are a people who live in small homes with door blinds. Adults also call out the baffling greeting "I know you, Mardi Gras" to the young participants. The key information about Mardi Gras' religious significance and explanations of who the "Indians" and other cultural/ethnic groups are is relegated to an author's note, and some definitions are still sketchy. Cooper's oil wash paintings here are characteristically warm in tone and suffused with subtle light and shadow. In several vibrant scenes of revelers, he captures the wonder, pageantry and air of celebration that Mardi Gras inspires, even though readers may be at a loss to understand the context for the festivities. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
It is dawn on a day of street parties, and children are donning minimalist costumes (an underwater mask for a deep-sea diver, a cowboy hat to evoke a cowboy) so that ``even those who love us must guess our identities.'' Of course the children aren't truly disguised: ``I know you, Mardi Gras,'' one friend calls from the sidewalk. By the fifth spread, readers understand that this is more than a children's party; ``Mardi Gras Indians live in our neighborhood,'' and each emerges from ``the door blinds of his small house like a spring flower opening.'' Five of the double-page oil paintings are given over to actual parade scenes; the rest of the book features more domestic scenes of children in their homes and backyards during the long Mardi Gras day. The story is poetic, but puzzling to children new to the subject: Where is the story taking place? What are ``Mardi Gras Indians,'' and how to makes sense of the statement ``A parade named Zulu will pass''? In read-aloud sessions, cover the author's note in the back first, for a more succinct introduction to some of the customs of the New Orleans parade. Shaik's narrative is deliberately child-centered, offering an insider's view of the day but not quite succeeding in beckoning newcomers to it. (Picture book. 4-8) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Dial Books, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110803714424
Book Description Condition: New. Gift Quality Book in Excellent Condition. Seller Inventory # 36SFFI0003R3
Book Description Dial, 1999. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0803714424
Book Description Dial Books, 1998. Condition: New. Floyd Cooper (illustrator). book. Seller Inventory # M0803714424