Every Month Is a New Year

By Kirkus Reviews

The passing of the year celebrated round the world through verse and collage. While many regard Jan. 1 as the first day of the calendar year, in this magnificent collaboration, Singer and Roth show that cultural observances of that new beginning happen each month. Presenting 16 celebrations from over 14 countries, they explore 12 months' worth of events that mark time's passage. "From the earth's movement, / from the moon's phases, / these clocks and calendars / we create. / Together /… / we / celebrate." Such remembrances can involve purification rituals, whether "washing the bad away" in April, by cleaning house and starting "the new year right / with a gigantic water fight" in Thailand, or setting "the bad ablaze" in Ecuador, at midnight on Dec. 31, by burning giant effigies representing the "año viejo." Scots look ahead to the "First Footer" (or visitor); Spaniards try to eat 12 grapes in 12 seconds for good luck—"so each new month will be sweet." Throughout the collection, which opens like a wall calendar, each of Roth's intricate collages animates Singer's verse, bursting with texture in a riot of color. "Happy New Year" in 15 languages precedes extensive notes, a glossary and pronunciation guide, and an impressive list of sources. A visually and sonically stunning introduction to the importance of appreciating time and the change of seasons throughout the world: a multicultural gem.