The Eight Nights of Chanukah

Lesléa New­man; Elvia Savadier, illus.

  • Review
By – August 3, 2012

The exu­ber­ant illus­tra­tions and cumu­lat­ing rhyme will invite young read­ers to want to sing this text, to the famil­iar tune of The Twelve Days of Christ­mas.” It begins with On the first night of Chanukah, I clap my hands to see/​A present wait­ing for me” and ends with…“On the eighth night of charm­ing, joy­ous illus­tra­tions to make this is an excel­lent addi­tion for both Jew­ish and sec­u­lar school col­lec­tions. For ages 4 – 6. Chanukah/​I clap my hands to see/​Eight maid­els dancing/​Seven latkes frying/​Six drei­dels spinning/​Five bags of gelt/​Four mat­zo balls/​Three challahs/​Two Maccabees/​And a present wait­ing for me!” Like the young nar­ra­tor of this sto­ry, all chil­dren love to receive presents, and they will enjoy the addi­tions to each page while learn­ing about the hol­i­day. The book is designed with lots of white space, and cheer­ful illus­tra­tions of hap­py, mul­ti­cul­tur­al char­ac­ters done in ink pen line with water­col­or wash­es. As each page fills up with more and more fam­i­ly and friends joy­ful­ly join­ing the cel­e­bra­tion, more details are added by the illus­tra­tor. The meno­rah is lit with the appro­pri­ate num­ber of can­dles for that night, latkes are being fried, and the drei­del game is being played. Savadier’s rol­lick­ing por­tray­al of the eight maid­els danc­ing seems to make them skip right off the page! A note at the back explains the his­to­ry of the hol­i­day and its dif­fer­ent spellings, while a glos­sary defines terms used in the sto­ry, such as gelt,” chal­lah,” latke,” Mac­cabees,” and meno­rah,” pro­vid­ing an illus­tra­tion of each one. Its sim­ple, under­stand­able pre­sen­ta­tion com­bines with the charm­ing, joy­ous illus­tra­tions to make this is an excel­lent addi­tion for both Jew­ish and sec­u­lar school col­lec­tions. For ages 4 – 6.

Read­ing Guide

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.

Discussion Questions