Dear Book Lovers, Welcome! I am delighted that you have found The Through the Looking Glass blog. For over twenty years I reviewed children's literature titles for my online journal, which came out six times a year. Every book review written for that publication can be found on the Through the Looking Glass website (the link is below). I am now moving in a different direction, though the columns that I write are still book-centric. Instead of writing reviews, I'm offering you columns on topics that have been inspired by wonderful books that I have read. I tell you about the books in question, and describe how they have have impacted me. This may sound peculiar to some of you, but the books that I tend to choose are ones that resonate with me on some level. Therefore, when I read the last page and close the covers, I am not quite the same person that I was when first I started reading the book. The shift in my perspective might be miniscule, but it is still there. The books I am looking are both about adult and children's titles. Some of the children's titles will appeal to adults, while others will not. Some of the adult titles will appeal to younger readers, particularly those who are eager to expand their horizons.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Egg decorating in different cultures, with a review of Beautiful Eggs.

I used to think that egg decorating was a tradition that was only found in countries where Easter is celebrated. It turns out that I am wrong! For example, in Mexico they decorate eggs for Cinco de Mayo and other celebrations, in addition to Easter. 
   I mostly grew up on the island of Cyprus, which is a Greek Orthodox country. Easter is the biggest
religious holiday of the year on the island, and they have many wonderful traditions that you only get to experience at that time. Special foods are prepared, including a sweet and savory bread called Falounes, which I am particularly partial to. The bread contains halloumi cheese (which is only made in Cyprus but is exported to other countries), raisins, mint, sesame seeds and other interesting ingredients. Here is a recipe for this delicious festive bread. 
   Decorating eggs is part of the celebration, and in Cyprus (and other
countries) traditionalists dye the eggs in boiled onion peel water. This gives the eggs a beautiful reddish brown color. People often use leaves and flowers in the dying process. Here is a how-to for those of you who would like try this decorating form. I used to do this with the yiayia (grandmother) who lived in the apartment below ours, and she and I had a wonderful time together. 
  People in Cyprus also dye their eggs a bright red, a tradition that is common in Eastern Orthodox countries including Greece. Of course these days people often buy colored dyes to create multicolored masterpieces. 

Beautiful Eggs: A journey through decorative traditions from around the world 
Illustrated by Alice Lindstrom 
Board Book
For ages 4 to 6
Scribble, 2021, 978-1950354436
When we think of egg decorating, we usually think of Easter festivities. Many people in countries around the world decorate boiled or blown eggs for this spring celebration. However, in some cultures they decorate eggs for other celebrations. In Mexico pretty eggs also appear on Cinco de Mayo and other festive days.
   People have been decorating eggs for centuries, and they have developed all kinds of ways of making eggs beautiful. A great deal of time and effort can be spent on decorating eggs, and some of these creations are so prized that they are put in museums or art galleries.
   In the Ukraine they have been creating extremely colorful eggs that are covered with fine and delicate designs for a long time. Red and green dyes are commonly used, and the designs are drawn on using beeswax.
   In the Czech Republic Easter eggs are decorated using many dye colors, and straw. When the eggs are complete, there are “Shiny kaleidoscope patterns” all over them.
   In Japan they use washi paper to decorate their eggs. The colorful printed papers, that are also use to make origami, are used to cover the eggs.
   With gorgeous collage illustrations and informative pieces of text, the illustrator of this board book introduces children and their grownups to seven different eggs decorating traditions. At the back of the book young readers will find a fold out page that children can use as a stencil to make their own drawing of a decorated egg.

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