From School Library Journal
Gr 2-6–Turning his lens to the rice fields of Thailand, Sobol begins this affectionate account with a description of the Royal Plowing Ceremony that kicks off the planting season and continues through cultivation and into the harvest. Brief explanations of the growing stages of rice are accompanied by beautiful color photographs of the fields in their various phases. The theme of the book is really the significant role that this grain plays in both the cultural and economic lives of the people. Those wanting an in-depth look at rice production worldwide will need to supplement this book with other titles, but Sobol offers an interesting look at a country and its people, and their relationship to the land. The writing is accessible and lively, providing a unique, specific look at one of the world's most important staples.Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA
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Like its predecessor in the Traveling Photographer series, Breakfast in the Rain Forest (2008), this volume offers a first-person account of Sobol’s travels, illustrated with excellent color photos. After attending Bangkok’s Royal Plowing Ceremony, marking the beginning of Thailand’s rice-cultivation season, he goes to the rice fields in the province of Issan, where farmers and their families spend the growing season planting seeds, transplanting seedlings, and harvesting the grain. The text gives a personal slant to information provided on the cultivation of rice and the importance of the crop in the culture and the diet of Thailand. Still, more vivid than the writing is the photography, which offers sharp, colorful pictures of the adults and children who work and play around the rice fields. An appended page of facts about rice, a glossary, and an explanation of Thai rice holidays round out the presentation. Grades 3-6. --Carolyn Phelan