Wish: Wishing Traditions Around the World

Wish1Roseanne Thong, illustrated by Elisa Kleven,
Chronicle Books, 2008.

Ages: 4-8

Author Roseanne Thong has once again delivered a captivating book, this time focusing on the wishing traditions of places far and near. In her 2006 book, The Wishing Tree, she wrote about a Chinese family’s yearly visit to a “wishing tree” each Lunar New Year, when wishes are written on special paper, tied to a mandarin orange, and tossed up into the branches of a Banyan tree. With Wish: Wishing Traditions Around the World, she goes beyond wishing trees to introduce children to the traditions of fifteen different cultures.

Wish shows children that to dream, to desire, to wish for things is a universal feeling, and that there are as many ways to make a wish as there are wishes to be made. It emphasizes that, whether wishing on a colorful kite on Soul’s Day (Guatemala), a shiny copper penny placed in a shoe (Russia), a puffy dandelion blown in the breeze (Ireland), a fast-footed striped weasel running by (South Africa), or a shimmery peacock feather placed between the pages of a book (India), the key to making wishes come true is to believe in them.

Elisa Kleven’s exuberant and child-oriented mixed media illustrations are, themselves, a wish come true—chockful of visual delights, each of her double-spread pages enhances and is enhanced by the short rhyme and explanatory paragraph that accompany each tradition.

Now, don’t you wish you had a copy of this book? It’s educational, it’s gorgeous, it would make a perfect gift – and it leaves you, whatever age you might be, wishing for more. Splendid indeed!