Nathan's Hanukkah Bargain

Pelican  2008

 
Colorful watercolors illustrate the reissue of this Hanukkah title first published in 1986. In this story Nathan has carefully saved his quarters to buy a Hanukkah menorah of his own, but when his grandfather takes him shopping everything he looks at is too expensive. Then his grandfather recounts his own experiences as a boy when peddlers sold things from carts, and everyone knew to bargain with them before agreeing on a final price. That’s when Nathan sees an old tarnished menorah in a shop window, and bargains his way to a deal with the elderly shopkeeper. Subtle textual differences in the new edition seem designed to reach children another generation removed from the original, and reflect a changed social attitude toward haggling. “The peddler gave a price, but he expected the customer to offer less. Much less.” The friendly two-page spreads are painted in winter tones with splashes of color. Nathan is a wide-eyed confident boy while grandpa and the shopkeeper exude the kindly wisdom of their years. An expanded author’s note explains the origins and tradition of lighting the Hanukkah menorah. While not necessarily an improvement over the original, this edition will be enjoyed by new and old readers alike. Recommended for ages 6–10.


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