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.
The Eight Nights of Chanukah
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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