Hanukkah Moon

Kar-Ben Publishing  2007

Isobel spends the first three nights of Hanukkah with her Aunt Luisa, who has just emigrated from Mexico. She admires her aunt’s Spanish Hanukkah sign that says “Feliz Januca,” the gigantic piñata shaped like a dreidel, and the large Hanukkiah that looks like a boat with birds, squirrels, raccoons, and deer. Isobel also learns how to take pictures with her new camera, creates a bird scrapbook, bakes dreidel-shaped cookies while singing “I have a little dreidel” in English and in Spanish, and observes Rosh Hodesh, the celebration of the new moon. The Hanukkah customs of Sephardic Jews, bird watching, photography, Rosh Hodesh and the new moon during Hanukkah, and the Jewish value of taking care of animals are all covered, weighing down the story and making it unclear what the main message is supposed to be. However, the rich, purple and gold infused illustrations are beautiful, and the appended glossary and Spanish pronunciation guide add value. With very few books available to introduce children to the traditions of Sephardic Jews or the contemporary customs of Rosh Hodesh, Hanukkah Moon is worthwhile despite its minor flaws. For ages 4–8.

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