Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Review: Would You Believe...in Mexico people picnic at granny's grave?!

First off, let's talk about this title.

Would You Believe...in Mexico people picnic at granny's grave?!: and Other Dynastic Delights

It's ridiculous. And long. Also, to be completely honest, I had no idea what dynastic meant when I first read the title. I thought this was a book about dinner rituals (dining, dynastic, you see the connection, right?). It's not. It's about families. What families are, wedding rituals, divorce traditions, step families, half families, dowries, siblings, etc. There is one ever-so-brief mention of same-sex couple families, which I was somewhat worried about with our very conservative parents if there was a longer discussion of it.

This book reminds me of the Eyewitness books of my childhood. Random artifacts with interesting snippets, short stories, websites to find out more (although the internet wasn't really available like that when I was a child), generally facts to whet your appetite and little more.

I did enjoy this book, once I realized what it was actually about. Books sometimes tend to focus on one particular culture or one small subset, but this book had a wide range of ideas about families. Like I said, it included a short discussion on same-sex couples, but it also included discussions about polygyny (one man, multiple wives) and polyandry (one woman, multiple husbands), which I found fascinating. Especially considering both are practiced nearby (the example the book gave for polyandry is in Bhutan, which is a short 1 hour flight from Dhaka). Overall, I felt it was a good introduction to family and lifestyles around the world, especially for students who have never been outside their country. Aimed towards students in grade 3 or 4.

LibraryThing Review


Families are complicated. Filled with crazy people, half-relations, interesting genetic traits, and traditions that date back centuries. Sometimes you're born into a family, sometimes your adopted in, and sometimes you have school friends instead of a family. "Would you Believe..." explores all of these relationships, and a few more.

Richly designed, with clear pictures, pleasing layout, and uncluttered, but still full of information, pages, "Would You Believe..." is a good introduction to familial relationships for students grade 3 and above.




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