Young Kayla and her faithful — slightly mischievous — dog, Kugel, are back for another adventure, sure to delight and educate young children, and win over even more fans for this charming duo. This time, they are celebrating Hanukkah and doing it with their usual panache. The adventure begins even before Hanukkah arrives as they search a treasure-filled attic for the box in which the Hanukkah menorahs are stored. Before they locate the box they are looking for, they stumble upon one filled with Purim costumes which Kugel gleefully tries on and models. The search continues until the Hanukkah box is located; Kayla educates Kugel — along with the reader — about the history and meaning of the holiday. Then Kayla, Kugel, and their family enjoy Hanukkah together — lighting candles, playing dreidel, and having a grand old time.
An author’s note puts the holiday in context for the reader, melding Kayla’s interest in its history with Kugel’s sense of fun. Two thoughtful questions are posed to encourage the reader to give additional thought to the holiday celebration.
Koffsky’s fabulous illustrations differentiate between modern times and the historical retelling with her effective use of color. The history is shown in shades of gold and sepia; Kayla, her family, and their home are portrayed in deep, rich, vibrant color. Facial expressions and humorous touches make it very clear that Kayla and Kugel know how to celebrate in style. Koffsky shows us in both words and pictures that Hanukkah has an important history which resonates throughout the generations, and is also a holiday of abundant fun!
Michal Hoschander Malen is the editor of Jewish Book Council’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A former librarian, she has lectured on topics relating to literacy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.