Esther the gorilla, anxious to treat her animal friends, buys Hanukkah gifts for each one, hoping they will be perfect. The choices, however, actually appear to be total disasters when they are given. The socks, turtlenecks, jogging suits, and puzzles aren’t right for anyone. Sarah the mouse cannot possibly use elephant size socks, despite their unusual patterns. Zack the zebra never wears red, so his red turtleneck is not a good present either. Why doesn’t Zack wear red? Because of the riddle, “What’s black and white and red all over?” The answer, of course, is an embarrassed zebra! Josephine the turtle won’t wear a jogging suit because the fastest she can go is a fast crawl. Each of Esther’s friends reciprocates with what appears to be a perfect gift. Esther finally manages to right all her mistakes at a very festive eighth night of Hanukkah party.
There is humor throughout as each choice is made. For example, the jungle gym set is marked “Build your own jungle gym in just ten minutes…or ten days at the most!” The light tone will engage young readers. The story also includes a description of Esther as she lights Hanukkah candles, says the blessings, and remembers the story of the Maccabees. There is a note at the end explaining the history of Hanukkah and the holiday celebrations.
Colorful cartoon-like illustrations give Esther the characteristics of a person, and are perfect in their humor as an accompaniment to the comic aspects of the story. The menorah appears as part of the illustrations on many pages.
Recommended for ages 4 – 9.