Tuesday, December 15, 2009

One Magical Night!

While we are still in the eight days of Hanukkah I wanted to highlight another great tale of magic during the Festival of Lights. Whether you are Jewish or not you can appreciate this fun, imaginative tale and take its moral to heart.

“Zigazat: A Magical Hanukkah Night”
By Eric Kimmel
Illustrated by Jon Goodell
For Ages 4 – 9

Not every Hanukkah tale explains the origins of the holiday. For instance, “Zigazak” tells not of the lamp oil lasting for eight nights, but of a different sort of magic. This tale follows the misadventures of two devils as they descend upon the village of Brisk on the first night of Hanukkah. The devils play pranks — dreidels dance about on their own and latkes fly through the air. The scared villagers run to the wise rabbi in search of help and counsel. The rabbi shows no fear, but delights I the merriment of dancing dreidels and flying latkes. He offers to free the devils from evil and help them become servants of good, but when they refuse he outwits and defeats them.

Even it it’s fantasy, “Zigazak” does not shy away from a moral. The rabbi explains that there are sparks of goodness in all things —“even in devils’ tricks.” This knowledge helps the townspeople see the wonder around them and enjoy the most magical Hanukkah ever.

The dark illustrations portray the devils as grotesque beings and only bring a touch of humor to their eyes and expressions. The fear of the townspeople comes through in shadows and distortions. Even with the dark palette, though, the expressive illustrations keep the tale brisk and fun.

“Zigazak” is easily the most imaginative Hanukkah book I have ever read and it would make for great fun during bedtime stories throughout the holiday.

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