Engineer Ari and his red steam engine return to celebrate the Festival of Lights. As Ari hurries to the Jerusalem station with his arms full of packages, he passes two boys reenacting the triumph of the Maccabees and two girls playing dreidel to commemorate Hanukkah’s great miracle. Ari is looking forward to returning to Jaffa so he can celebrate with his friends but when his train encounters a stubborn camel on the tracks in Modi’in, it is a Bedouin shepherd who comes to his aid. Ari asks his new friend, Kalil, to join him while he lights the Hanukkiah and eats his sufganiyot. Once again, young readers will enjoy the familiar elements of the holiday and also the simple charm of Engineer Ari, whose friendly, earnest demeanor makes these books such a pleasure to read. Of particular note are the girls’ dreidels that display the Hebrew letters Nun, Gimel, Hay, and Pay (Nes Gadol Hayah Po), reminding children that the great miracle of Hanukkah happened “here” in the Land of Israel. Combining cheerful illustrations, a friendly text, appealing characters and a bright red train, this book will have children chanting “Toot! Toot!” for eight days and nights. Includes a brief description of the holiday, a glossary, and a photo-history of the first steam engine to travel between Jerusalem and Jaffa in 1892. Recommended for ages 2 – 7.
Teri Markson has been a children’s librarian for over 18 years. She is currently the acting senior librarian at the Valley Plaza Branch Library in North Hollywood, CA.