Cycle of Rice, Cycle of Life

By Kirkus Reviews

A staple food for a large part of the world, rice is a very important crop. But in Bali, as Reynolds reverently explains, rice is life. On this small Indonesian island, farmers have used an intricate water- and crop-rotation system for more than 1,000 years to become one of the world’s largest rice producers while also modeling a successful practice of sustainable farming. Paralleling the cycle of rice itself, Reynolds divides her work into three sections: Water first spills down Balinese volcanoes, a family plants and harvests the rice together and, finally, ducks help to eliminate pests and rejuvenate the soil. Full-color photographs dominate the pages, generously illustrating each step. In a clear and dynamic voice, the author gracefully weaves information on Balinese spiritual ritual practices and the dangers of overproduction into the explanation of this tiny—but oh-so-powerful—grain.