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by Richard Sobal


School Library Journal:

Gr 3–6— When author/photographer Sobol returned to rural Thailand to share copies of The Life of Rice (Candlewick, 2010) with the people he wrote about, he was intrigued to find the villagers involved in silk production and silk weaving-a dry-season activity-and he immediately began collecting material for a new book. In this engaging, first-person account, he shares his observations of the people and their customs as they walk him through their silk-making process, all of which is done, traditionally, by hand. First, thousands of silkworm eggs are obtained from a Bangkok farm (“silkworms” are moth larvae); when the larvae hatch, they are housed in large baskets, constantly fed fresh mulberry leaves until, after several molts, they pupate. Young girls carefully wipe off the accumulated waste material from the cocoons, after which they are slowly cooked to release the strands of silk, which are spun into thread, dyed, and woven into high-quality cloth (the insects are consumed as a delicacy). One or two sharp, color photos accompany the text on almost every page; depicted are the people and their surroundings, the implements used, close-ups of larvae and pupae, etc. An addendum offers miscellaneous facts about silk and silkworms. Silk boasts an attractive format, a clearly written text, and excellent photography, and it offers a fascinating glimpse of the Thai people and their unique industry. It will also serve as a fine companion volume to The Life of Rice .—Karey Wehner, formerly at San Francisco Public Library –Karey Wehner (Reviewed October 1, 2012) (School Library Journal, vol 58, issue 10, p118)


3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, Ages 9-12, Education, Non-fiction