[review + yummy cookies + giveaway!] My Village: Rhymes from Around the World by Danielle Wright and Mique Moriuchi

Isn’t it wonderful when one good thing leads to another

Because I loved Mique Moriuchi’s charming illustrations in Irene Latham’s new poetry book Fresh Delicious, I zipped over to her website to see more and happily found My Village: Rhymes from Around the World (Frances Lincoln, 2015), which features twenty-two verses collected by New Zealander Danielle Wright.

What makes this collection especially interesting is that the poems are presented in their native languages alongside an English translation. So we travel to fascinating places from New Zealand to Norway, Jamaica to Japan, and Indonesia to Iran, reading some of the very first rhymes children in those countries learn.

Animals are a favorite topic (whales, donkeys, monkeys, pigs, birds, mice), along with everyday activities that naturally fall into a child’s frame of reference no matter where he/she might live (playing in the rain, losing a tooth, flying kites, bath time, eating!). As former UK Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen points out in his excellent Introduction,

[Nursery rhymes] are a strange mix of poems: some are fragments of longer songs and ballads, some are rhymes that were probably oral jingles or chants that people sang or said to their children, a small group are carefully composed little poems with known authors, and some are songs that always accompanied dancing or actions of some kind.

Continue reading

a little chinese take-out

Celebrate the Year of the Dragon with these fine reads. No better time to feast on Chinese culture, history and folklore. Ed Young’s brilliant The House Baba Built: An Artist’s Childhood in China (Little, Brown, 2011), just won the 2012 APALA Asian/Pacific American Literature Award for Best Picture Book. Click here to read an excerpt at the publisher’s website.

Here are the books I’ve featured here at Alphabet Soup:

The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2011).

Dumpling Days by Grace Lin (Little, Brown, 2012).

A New Year’s Reunion by Yu Li-Qiong and Zhu Cheng-Liang (Candlewick Press, 2011).

Why yes, all this talk of China has made me hungry. I always love to celebrate the Lunar New Year with dim sum. This year, we tried Mark’s Duck House, across the street from our usual place, Fortune Chinese Seafood Restaurant. And we actually liked it better! I have no idea why we’d never heard of Mark’s before. Their specialty is Peking Duck, which we’ll have to try another time.

I was happy they had all my dim sum favorites:

Steamed Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao)
Pan Fried Chives Dumpling
Shrimp Crepe (Cheung Fan)
Crab Meat Dumpling
Egg Custard Tart (dan tat)


Of course it’s always fun to read menu boards in Chinese restaurants.

Pig Ear or Duck Tongue to go?

I’m wondering about the Cold Knuckle, too.

Can’t wait to go back!

Dragons signify power and good fortune. 2012 is the Year of the Water Dragon, a period of growth and optimism.

I wish you good luck, good health, and many creative blossomings. ☺


Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.