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by Jan Reynolds


School Library Journal:

Gr 3–5— This slim book is filled with lovely color photographs showing the people of Bali, ancient water temples, and rice in every stage of growth. It begins with an overview of the customs governing the use of water and explaining how community cooperation within the water temple system ensured that each farm got enough water to produce a plentiful harvest. The book then shows how rice was (and is) grown in Bali using traditional methods involving a fallow period and ducks. Reynolds discusses the consequences of the imposition of modern agricultural practices, such as chemical fertilizers and pesticides, on the crop, and the resulting drop in production. The final part explains how American anthropologist J. Stephen Lansing analyzed how the water temple system and traditional farming methods were more effective than the modern practices and convinced the Indonesian government to allow farmers to return to the old ways. While the text occasionally oversimplifies the subject, it does provide a fine overview of a classic anthropological study and a strong argument for sustainable farming practices. Back matter includes three Web sites, although two of them are dead links. Given the dearth of books on the topic for children, this one can serve to provide additional information for reports on Bali or on anthropological studies.—Caroline Tesauro, Radford Public Library, VA –Caroline Tesauro (Reviewed June 1, 2009) (School Library Journal, vol 55, issue 6, p112)


  • Notable Books for a Global Society: 2010


3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, Education, Non-fiction