Elmo’s Little Dreidel

Random House  2011


When Elmo spends the first night of Hanukkah with his friends Gil and Susie, their parents light the menorah and they all sing Hanukkah songs.  They eat “yummy potato pancakes with applesauce” for dinner and then Gil and Susie teach Elmo how to play the dreidel game.  Using chocolate coins as prize money, they follow the directions given by the Hebrew letters which appear on top after the dreidel stops spinning:  Nun for “none”, Gimel for “get them all”, Hey for “take half” and Shin for “put one in”.  This brief board book provides the youngest children with a simple, age-appropriate introduction to some of the holiday’s traditions:  lighting the menorah for eight nights to remember the miracle of Hanukkah, singing Hanukkah songs, and playing the dreidel game.  When Elmo leaves to go home, Gil gives him a dreidel as a Hanukkah gift.  Elmo happily says that he is going to teach the dreidel game to his Mommy and Daddy and, on the book’s last page, he is enjoying just that.  Aside from being introduced to the dreidel game, young children also learn the concept of sharing; when Elmo’s spin of the dreidel wins him all of the chocolate coins, he shares them with Gil and Susie.  It would have been useful for the author to use the terms “latkes” and “gelt” but youngsters who love Sesame Street will enjoy the appealing, brightly colored Sesame Street characters as they tell the story of Elmo’s first experience with Hanukkah.  Recommended for ages 1-3.

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