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Days to Celebrate    by Lee Bennett Hopkins & Stephen Alcorn order for
Days to Celebrate
by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Order:  USA  Can
Greenwillow, 2004 (2004)

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Hopkins takes us on a journey through the calendar, 'a trip bursting with people, holidays, historical events, poetry, and more.' Alcorn's whimsical, engaging illustrations highlight key people, such as Martin Luther King, and events (like the annual 'Young People's Poetry Week' or the 1904 opening of the NY City subway) in the text.

There's a chapter and a calendar for each month. We learn the origin of the month's name (such as January's in the Roman god 'Janus' whose two faces look into both past and future), its birthstone, flower and Zodiac sign. There are many marvellous quotes, like Abe Lincoln's 'The ballot is stronger than the bullet'. Use the calendar to find out what else happened on your own birthday (I learned that Tarzan's author, Edgar Rice Burroughs, was born on the same day as one of my sons).

Filling out the monthly calendars are many poems, from Carl Sandburg's Arithmetic ('Arithmetic is where you have to carry the multiplication table in your head and hope you won't lose it') to T. S. Eliot's elegant Naming of Cats ('His ineffable effable / Effanineffable / Deep and inscrutable singular Name.') There's brief biographical information on great men and women, such as James Audubon and Harriet Tubman, and on renowned poets, like Langston Hughes and Robert Frost.

Open up Days to Celebrate every month, enjoy the poetry and learn fascinating facts from history and the calendar - it's a stimulating volume for both home and classroom.

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