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.