Hanukkah begins Monday, so last Friday, after the book fair was packed up, I was at school late setting up our menorah and getting seasonal books on display. It appears that our Hanukkah books are popular since half of the collection was missing. In response, I went book shopping on Saturday and picked up the following titles:
Simon and the Bear: a Hanukkah Tale by Eric A. Kimmel & Matthew Trueman (illustrator)
A young man, Simon, travels on a ship to America, but the boat hits an iceberg. He gives up his seat in the lifeboat to a man with children and then jumps onto the iceberg just as the boat goes under. While stranded on the ice he meets and befriends an enormous white bear. Matthew Trueman's illustrations complete the enchantment in this tale of Hanukkah miracles.
Is it Hanukkah Yet? by Chris Barash & Alessandra Psacharopulo (illustrator)
There is something universal in this book about waiting for a special day to arrive. Psacharopulo's enchanting illustrations and Barash's rhyming text combine magically to show us all the seasonal hints that let us know that Hanukkah is on it's way. While this is a book about waiting for Hanukkah, students will be able to make connections to the many celebrations they wait for in their own lives.
Nonna's Hanukkah Surprise by Karen Fisman & Martha Avil (illustrator)
Rachel's mother is Jewish and her father is Christian. She is a bit worried about their upcoming visit to her father's family because she is afraid that she will miss Hanukkah. Her parent's reassure her that they will share their holiday celebrations with everyone. Her father gifts her with an early Hanukkah present, a menorah with nine proud Maccabee girls! Unfortunately, Rachel leaves it on the plane. Luckily, she has an amazing Nonna who saves the day.
I really loved this book about families melding their different celebrations into one larger one. Avil's illustrations augment the text beautifully.
Hanukkah Bear by Eric A. Kimmel & Mike Wohnoutka (Illustrator)
This is the retelling of a tale first published in 1990 as The Chanukkah Guest. Bubba Brayna is 97 years old, and while her hearing and vision are not as good as they once were, she still makes the best latkes in the village. Hilarity ensues when she mistakes an old bear for the rabbi who she is expecting. I enjoyed this version as much as the first one.
I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Dreidel by Caryn Yacowitz & David Slonim (illustrator)
This version of the Old Lady with the strange appetite, educates the reader about many hanukkah traditions, but the heart of the story is in David Slonim's just stunning images. It begins as a wordless comic book style where we see how it is that the old lady ended up swallowing the dreidel in the first place. Throughout the book Slonim has taken creative license that takes us into a 'delightful romp' through art history. At the back of the book he lets us know what paintings he has parodied. I enjoyed this book except for the part when the old lady swallows "a pitcher of oil, 'bout ready to boil." That just brought too many uncomfortable images into my head.
Clifford Celebrates Hanukkah by Norman Bridwell
Clifford and Emily Elizabeth go to a classmate's house to learn about Hanukkah. This book is both educational and fun at the same time.
Hanukkah is Coming! by Tracy Newman & Viviana Garofoli
This brightly illustrated board book is sure to entertain the younger students and their younger brothers and sisters.
Thankfully, I discovered on Sunday, where the missing books were hiding. It's all good though because you can never have too many seasonal titles can you?