Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Winter Solstice by Ellen Jackson

Title: The Winter Solstice
Author: Ellen Jackson
Illustrator: Jan Davey Ellis
Publication Date: 1994
Length: 30 pages

This book was not at all what I was expecting. What I was expecting was a nice book about celebrating the Winter Solstice. Something Pagan parents could read to their children around the holiday season.

Instead, this book describes a few "ancient" (a word which here means "still practiced today by many people") rituals and celebrations surrounding the Winter Solstice, while occasionally suggesting that these people were quite primitive. It then goes into a page about how we today do not believe such silliness because SCIENCE, which is all well and good because I love science, but then it's all "today the solstice has been replaced by Christmas and Hanukkah because apparently we're all Christian or Jewish".

Also, this book uses the phrase "people in the United States and Europe". There is no phrase I hate more than that phrase. What do the United States and Europe have in common that Canada doesn't? Or Australia or New Zealand? American authors, please stop using this phrase, forever. It is always used in contexts that suggest that these are the "Western people", and if you're going to do that and list countries, and least list them all.

Ahem, where was I?

So anyway, this book is not Pagan friendly. Nor is it supportive of cultural diversity, really. The one part of this book I liked was that at the end there's a little story that says it was adapted from a Cherokee tale of creation, and it describes how the evergreen trees got to be evergreen. It was a nice little story. If that story was the whole book this review would be a whole lot better. As it is, I found most of this book mildly offensive. And it's a kids' book. 1 star.

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