Ham and eggs, hugs and kisses, poetry and painting–there are some things that were always meant to be together. This is colorfully, exuberantly, and bilingually pointed out by Everyday Life by Tricia Morrissey and Ding Sang Mak, illustrated by a group of artists from Jinshan, China (ThingsAsian Press).
Following the four seasons through the activities and festivals of a Chinese year, this book is filled with short verses, each one written in English, Chinese characters, and romanized Chinese, complete with tone marks, so those of us who don’t speak Chinese can still attempt to give the music of its sounds a try. Dragons dance, pictures are “sewed into life,” kites swoop, trees are decorated with toys during the harvest festival, and winter is greeted with the Chicken Feather Game–while children “Pile Up a Snowman” with “brown mushroom ears, black olive eyes.”
Each of the joyful, rollicking verses is accompanied by a painting, done in vivid, gleaming colors and filled with people who are so vitally present that they almost seem in motion. Every picture draws the viewer into the scene and into the lives that leap straight from the page to imaginations. They have been created by folk artists, farmers who paint scenes from their daily lives in tempera mixed with chalk, whose work is now exhibited in a Shanghai gallery.
Through art and the use of English and Chinese, this is a book that shrinks global distances by bringing another culture close while introducing the youngest of children to the delight of rhyming, rhythmical words in two languages and the pleasure of exploring paintings. And what could be better than that, after eating a plate of ham and eggs and before receiving bedtime hugs and kisses?