The subtitle of this book explains its glorious purpose: A Full Year of Poetry, People, Holidays, History, Fascinating Facts, and More. I've seen books for preschoolers full of little stories for each day, but rarely a book like this, jam-packed with interesting tidbits for older kids.
There's a calendar for each month with various birthdays and moments in history, from people to pop-up toasters and other odd bits. In addition to the calendars are pages of art, poems and paragraphs celebrating different days of note.
Days To Celebrate tackles everything from the mighty (a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.) to miniscule (the patent of the first pencil with an attached eraser). In addition to the curiosities, it's a well-rounded literary and historical tribute. We learn, for instance that Babe Ruth and Ronald Reagan were born on the same day that Massachusetts was admitted to the Union (Feb. 6), and that Charles Dickens and Laura Ingalls Wilder shared a birthday (Feb. 7). The birthdays of many children's writers are noted in the monthly calendars, thus giving kids a variety of worthwhile names to pursue, such as Jane Yolen, E.B. White and Arnold Adoff.
Artist Stephen Alcorn models his art after that found in old almanacs, yet it's also colorful and alive with modern sensibilities. Check out, for instance, his likeness of Babe Didrikson Zaharias swinging a golf club as she stands on an outline of a United States map. The dust swirls as she hits the ball, which sails across the top of the page. Editor Lee Bennett Hopkins is a leading children's poet and anthologist, which means the variety and selections of poetry are superb. Lest you worry that this book is all work and no play, just check out what happened on February 18. Seems that back in 1930 on that day, a creature known as Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow to fly and be milked in an airplane. Who knew? Alice Cary is a writer in Groton, Massachusetts.