Hiss! Pop! Boom! Celebrating Chinese New Year- a book review

by Ernie Yap, Nov 24, 2007 | Destinations: China

Title: Hiss! Pop! Boom! Celebrating Chinese New Year

Author: Tricia Morrissey with Illustrations by Kong Lee

Publisher: ThingsAsian Kids


This is a book that might cause you to just stare and admire the pictures until your kid grows impatient as to whether or not you're really going to tell the story.

          The Chinese New Year, according to the lunar calendar. Around the world, Chinese families are united by this one celebration which brings back families and unites the community. It is a 15-day occasion set aside for family and bliss.

            The traditional Chinese life is one of symbolism, gestures, word-play, proverbs and reverence. During Chinese New Year, these elements come to the forefront in full force that might seem like a hopeless mesh of confusion for the uninitiated but a meaningful and articulate celebration of ushering in the New Year as is practiced by generations past thousands of years ago.

              During this special time, special dresses are worn, special foods are eaten, special greetings are exchanged, the adults are especially nice and the children especially happy.

    I remember as a child, I would usually go with the flow and be fascinated by the various traditions observed by the adults, with a thousand questions flowing through my head at any one time. Why are tangerines and pomelos exchanged and eaten during Chinese New Year? Why are the sweet goodies on the table called the Tray of Happiness and can only be eaten during Chinese New Year? Why does my grandma cook the New Year chicken in such an unusual way?

         Children are always fascinated by loud noise and sparks. What's behind the booming sound of those long, winding Chinese New Year firecrackers? What underlies the massive lion and dragon dances?

         From the noisy crackers to the fine art of Chinese calligraphy and brush painting, Hiss! Pop! Boom! Celebrating Chinese New Year introduces to young readers the elaborate celebration and highlights an age-old heritage of the Chinese people with a treasure cove of beautiful illustrations and an elegantly simple narrative.