Cover image for On Mardi Gras day
On Mardi Gras day
Shaik, Fatima, 1952-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, [1999]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Two children participating in the traditional Mardi Gras celebration see such sights as the Zulu and Rex parades, enjoying the songs, bright costumes, and gigantic floats.
Reading Level:
AD 670 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.3 0.5 35039.

Reading Counts RC K-2 3.2 1 Quiz: 30967 Guided reading level: M.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a festival for the whole city'and in this buoyant picture book two children experience the holiday in their own special way. Watching the Mardi Gras Indians in their beautiful hand-sewn costumes; viewing the parades and catching the beads and coins pitched from the fabulous floats'from dawn till night's end, this is a day filled with wonders.Author Fatima Shaik's vivid picture of Mardi Gras in a close-knit African-American community is perfectly illustrated by Floyd Cooper's shimmering paintings, filled with the pageantry and spirit of this grand celebration.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-8. The evocative quality of both the prose and paintings is the strong suit in this slice of African American Mardi Gras life. In the first person plural, an unnamed black girl describes how she and her younger brother spend the holiday. Their activities include dressing up in simple costumes, watching several parades, and sharing a feast with their family. The explanations of these distinctive events provided by Shaik, a New Orleans native, are sketchy at best. For instance, she simply states in the body of the narrative that "the [Zulu] parade makes fun of some old Southern traditions that once kept black and white people apart." Although her lengthy author's note provides more information, readers will have to look elsewhere to gain a better understanding. As in recent books--Cumbayah(1998) and Faraway Drums(1998)--the focus of Cooper's misty, intensely colored oil paintings is the human face and figure. At times his representation of the two principals is inconsistent, but the double-page spreads have an appealing warmth and memorable images, from the intriguing Mardi Gras Indians in their dramatically feathered headdresses to the duo's gap-toothed papa. --Julie Corsaro

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this disjointed picture book, two young narrators describe their activities on New Orleans' "day of street parties," a time when "Mardi Gras Indians" don "feathers, beads, and gemstones" to dance through the neighborhoods. The children also observe two festive parades called Zulu and Rex, which represent other segments of New Orleans history, then feast on favorite treats (gumbo, ham and peas) at a joyous family luncheon. Unless readers are already familiar with Mardi Gras, they will be at sea here. Though Shaik's (The Jazz of Our Street) text hints at Mardi Gras rituals, readers never learn the meaning behind the colorful traditions. Several passages and phrases are misleading or confusing, suggesting, for example, that the Mardi Gras "Indians" are a people who live in small homes with door blinds. Adults also call out the baffling greeting "I know you, Mardi Gras" to the young participants. The key information about Mardi Gras' religious significance and explanations of who the "Indians" and other cultural/ethnic groups are is relegated to an author's note, and some definitions are still sketchy. Cooper's oil wash paintings here are characteristically warm in tone and suffused with subtle light and shadow. In several vibrant scenes of revelers, he captures the wonder, pageantry and air of celebration that Mardi Gras inspires, even though readers may be at a loss to understand the context for the festivities. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-This story looks at the final day of celebrations and parades through the eyes of two African-American children. Emphasis is placed on a couple of unique and very colorful traditions of the New Orleans black community-the African-American Zulu parade and the Mardi Gras Indians, who dance down the neighborhood streets at dawn in elaborate hand-sewn costumes. The children participate in these two events and then join the crowds on Canal Street for the king of all parades, Rex, before returning home for a good helping of Louisiana's special cuisine, and closing out the day with more parades and merriment. An author's note gives a more detailed description of the fascinating Mardi Gras Indian tradition, which derives from a mixture of African and Native American cultures, and has been handed down through many generations. Cooper's outstanding oil paintings glow with warm colors, richly conveying the festive family atmosphere. An especially appealing book that offers children vicarious enjoyment of this special day.-Judith Constantinides, East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.