In Bali, as in many parts of the world, rice is more than just a staple food-rice is life!
In Bali, life revolves around the planting and harvesting of rice. While eels slip through the mud and dragonflies flutter overhead, farmers plant seedlings in the wet rice field, or 'saweh.' Soon each plant is crowned with flowers, and tiny green kernels appear. Rain nourishes the kernels, which grow plump and sweet. The green plants turn golden and ripe, and everyone helps harvest the grain. When the harvest is finished, the farmers give thanks to the goddess of rice for a successful crop.
From planting the seeds to harvesting the ripe grain, this beautiful, poetic book tells the story of rice and of the Balinese people, for whom rice is life.
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Rita Golden Gelman is the author of more than fifty books for children, including More Spaghetti, I Say! and Dawn to Dusk in the Galapagos. She lived in Bali, Indonesia for nine years, learning about the people and the important place that rice holds in their culture.
Yangsook Choi was born in Korea and lived there until she moved to New York to study at the School of Visual Arts. She has illustrated several books for children, including The Sun Girl and the Moon Boy. She took a trip to Bali to research the art for Rice is Life.From Publishers Weekly:
In verse and in descriptive prose, Gelman (Queen Esther Saves Her People) tours the rice fields, or sawahs, of Bali. On each spread, a poem focuses on the creatures in the sawah (e.g., the eels, the bats that eat the mosquitoes, the mice that nibble at the crops) and a paragraph explains an aspect of the planting, cultivation and harvesting of rice, the staple of the Indonesian diet. The poems are inconsistent. Lyrical passages coexist with sing-song or stale lines ("In the darkness of the sawah/ With a yellow moon above/ Comes a serenade of frogs/ Singing out their songs of love"). The prose, however, is graceful, whether explaining how rice plants sprout or how children roast dragonflies for snacks. The lesson culminates with a farmer and his family offering thanks to Dewi Sri, goddess of rice. Choi's (The Sun Girl and the Moon Boy) brightly bordered panels offer radiant scenes of the sawah. Imaginatively framed, the illustrations glow with saturated colorDemerald green frogs, ruby red dragonflies, deep magenta sunsets, sunlit yellow grainDand make this book inviting as well as educational. Ages 4-9. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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