Hap­py Hanukkah, Dear Dragon

Mar­garet Hillert; David Schim­mell, illus.
  • Review
By – February 15, 2012
This new addi­tion to the Dear Drag­on series of Begin­ning-to-Read” titles, begun over thir­ty years ago by Mar­garet Hillert, is very strange. Reviewed here as a library edi­tion, it includes an instruc­tion­al note to care­givers, a word list, and activ­i­ties to pro­mote read­ing suc­cess.” How­ev­er, except for the use of the word Hanukkah in the title and at the end, none of the objects for Hanukkah shown in this very ear­ly begin­ning read­er are iden­ti­fied! The read­er sees the boy and drag­on go to vis­it a friend and his father who are wear­ing yarmulkes, the friend’s moth­er mak­ing rather hard-to-rec­og­nize pota­to pan­cakes, the boy light­ing the can­dles of a meno­rah, and the two boys and the drag­on play­ing with a drei­del, but these objects are not ever iden­ti­fied in the text when they are shown. Only at the back of the book, where there is an activ­i­ty for read­ing rein­force­ment, are these words list­ed, and not with iden­ti­fy­ing pic­tures. Clear­ly the series is attempt­ing to include only cer­tain sim­ple words and adding new ones would not go with the pro­gram. The car­toon-like col­or illus­tra­tions are very engag­ing, but at a price of over $18.00, this book is only rec­om­mend­ed for schools and read­ing programs.
Andrea David­son is the librar­i­an of The Tem­ple-Tifer­eth Israel in Beach­wood, Ohio. She holds an M.L.S. from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan and is a for­mer mem­ber of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Awards Com­mit­tee. She enjoys try­ing out the books she reviews on the kids at the Tem­ple and on her grandchildren.

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