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Summary: Christmas is a three-day festival. On the Third Day (Children's Day), the Medicine Man (Shaman) uses his powers to grant the wish of the festival's Best Boy and Best Girl. Raymondi asked for his turtle's return. De'asha wish for snow. The shaman used all of his powers to bring snow ... was De'asha's wish too big? This is a seasonal book blending cultural tradition with events/feelings universal to all kids.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 9; read yourself: 8 to 10
Interest Level: 5 to 9
Age of Child: Started reading with 6-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: Initially, our child was reluctant to listen to this story. But after we read it, she asked for the book so that she could look at it by herself. She spent a lot of time looking at the illustrations, studying the pictures and the children's faces.
Adult Reader Reaction: This was a nice story to read and the illustrations are nice. We had anticipated learning more about holiday traditions in Madagascar, but the story focused largely on De'asha's wish. The "Did you Know" information was disappointing and 3 of 4 facts were not relevant to the story and come across as throw-ins.
Pros: Kids will relate to this picture book on two levels: anticipation of having wishes granted at Christmas and wishes for snow.
Cons: In seeking to have her wish fulfilled, De'asha prayed, but the basis of her faith is unclear. Is she speaking to Zanahary, as part of a traditional Malagasy belief or as a Christian?
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. The story is one that children can understand, with magic and wishes taking center stage.
Educational Themes: A globe or world map will help you pinpoint Madagascar and show why snow is an unlikely possibility. There are four "factoids" in the back that can offer some direction in learning about Madagascar and the Malagasy, as well as about what a total eclipse is.