Elmo’s Lit­tle Dreidel

Nao­mi Klein­berg; Christo­pher Moroney, illus.
  • Review
By – December 19, 2011

When Elmo spends the first­night of Hanukkah with his friends Gil and Susie, their par­ents light the­meno­rah and they all sing Hanukkah songs. They eat yum­my pota­to pan­cakeswith apple­sauce” for din­ner and then Gil and Susie teach Elmo how to play the­drei­del game. Using choco­late coins as prize mon­ey, they fol­low the direc­tion­s­giv­en by the Hebrew let­ters which appear on top after the drei­del stopsspin­ning: Nun for none”, Gimel for get them all”, Hey for take half”and Shin for put one in”. This brief board book pro­vides the youngestchil­dren with a sim­ple, age-appro­pri­ate intro­duc­tion to some of the holiday’straditions: light­ing the meno­rah for eight nights to remem­ber the mir­a­cle­of Hanukkah, singing Hanukkah songs, and play­ing the drei­del game. WhenEl­mo leaves to go home, Gil gives him a drei­del as a Hanukkah gift. Elmo­hap­pi­ly says that he is going to teach the drei­del game to his Mom­my and Dad­dyand, on the book’s last page, he is enjoy­ing just that. Aside from being­in­tro­duced 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 shares­them with Gil and Susie. It would have been use­ful for the author to usethe terms latkes” and gelt” but young­sters who love Sesame Street will enjoythe appeal­ing, bright­ly col­ored Sesame Street char­ac­ters as they tell the sto­ry­of Elmo’s first expe­ri­ence with Hanukkah. Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 1 – 3.

Andrea David­son is the librar­i­an of The Tem­ple-Tifer­eth Israel in Beach­wood, Ohio. She holds an M.L.S. from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan and is a for­mer mem­ber of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Awards Com­mit­tee. She enjoys try­ing out the books she reviews on the kids at the Tem­ple and on her grandchildren.

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