Hanukkah Bear

Eric A. Kim­mel; Mike Wohnout­ka, illus.
  • Review
By – December 10, 2013

Bub­ba Bray­na doesn’t see or hear as well as she used to, but she still makes the best pota­to latkes in the vil­lage. And on this first night of Hanukkah, the rab­bi will be her spe­cial guest. But before he arrives, an old bear, awak­ened from his win­ter sleep by the deli­cious smell of latkes, fol­lows the aro­ma to the door of Bub­ba Brayna’s cot­tage. Mistak­ing the fur­ry bear for the beard­ed rab­bi, she hap­pi­ly invites him in. They light the meno­rah, eat all of the latkes, and play drei­del. After the drowsy, latke-filled bear has shuf­fled off for home, Bub­ba Bray­na hears anoth­er knock on the door. The real rab­bi and all of the oth­er guests have arrived. The iden­ti­ty of the mys­tery guest is solved, and every­one helps Bub­ba Bray­na pre­pare a new batch of latkes. Wohnoutka’s car­toon-style acrylic paint­ings of the endear­ing bear and patient Bub­ba, in warm golds and browns, enhance the story’s humor. An author’s note with more infor­ma­tion about Hanukkah cus­toms and a recipe for latkes are includ­ed. (Note: This is a revised ver­sion of The Chanukkah Guest pub­lished in 1990, and has short­er text and all new illustrations.) 

Rec­om­mend­ed for age 5 – 9.

Susan Kan­tor was a senior writer/​editor for Girl Scouts of the USA, a chil­dren’s book edi­tor, and a past judge for the Nation­al Jew­ish Book Awards in the illus­trat­ed children’s book cat­e­go­ry. She is a writer and a docent at the Rubin Muse­um in New York City, where she leads pub­lic and pri­vate tours.

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