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*Wish: Wishing Traditions Around the World* by Roseanne Thong, illustrated by Elisa Kleven
Also by Roseanne Greenfield Thong:

Round is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes

Also illustrated by Elisa Kleven:

One Little Chicken
Wish: Wishing Traditions Around the World
by Roseanne Thong, illustrated by Elisa Kleven
Ages 4-8 36 pages Chronicle September 2008 Hardcover    

Children’s folktales from 15 different countries make up this collection on customs involving wishing. Each small tale is a two-page spread featuring a four-line poem which is followed by a short, simple-to-understand paragraph that explains what the folklore is about.

The illustrations employ various forms of media in gorgeous deep and brilliant tones, depicting children and adults who live in the numerous country and city settings. Eerily, they give the feel of being a bit old-fashioned while at the same time embodying a modern vibe.

With each story, readers will recognize that some are traditional and religious in nature - like the wishes made in Israel at the Wailing Wall - while others are as simple as a dandelion puff being blown around in Ireland. In South Africa, a striped weasel in Zulu villages can be the reason behind people’s wishing customs there.

Other places where wishes are “explained” to a certain childlike degree are Japan, China, Russia, the United States, Iran, Australia, Italy, South and Central America, and Thailand, thus making the book somewhat educational in nature. The customs and traditions are interesting and unusual, making for a nice discussion with children.

The stories are fun and provide hope for better lives through the wishes they convey. Wish includes a somewhat poorly explained lucky symbol game, and there isn’t much in the way of a bibliography or references.

Still, children will enjoy the fun of it and be entranced by the gorgeous illustrations and the feeling of hope they engender - that wishes can make the world a better place. This makes a wonderful gift for any child between the ages of 4-8, especially as it deals with multi-cultural issues in such a simple and loving way.

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  Karen D. Haney/2009 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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