Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's a Miracle!

Hanukkah is almost here! Oh, I know it's a minor holiday in Judaism, but the fact that the eight night Festival of Lights occurs between Thanksgiving and Christmas means it gets more secular attention than most Jewish holidays. Take a look at the bookstore — how many children's books do you see on the subject of Yom Kippur? There are plenty on Hanukkah though. Here is a review on a Hanukkah book my children enjoyed reading.

“It’s a Miracle! A Hanukkah Storybook”
By Stephanie Spinner
Illustrated by: Jill McElmurray
For Ages 4 – 8

This Hanukkah, young Owen Block is the OCL (official candle lighter) for his family’s Hanukkah celebrations. Each night as the grown-ups sing the blessings Owen lights a candle on his family’s menorah. Then at bedtime grandma kicks of her cowboy boots and tells Owen a story. She tells of a little girl who wants to become a rabbi, an alien who gets lost in a little girls backyard, a dentist with a performing parrot and much more. With each new story Owen discovers his family heritage and learns about the miracles of Hanukkah and his mother’s potato latkes.

The text is a little long, but Spinner does a nice job of keeping the story moving. She does a nice job balancing humor and sentimentality as each bedtime story illustrates the importance of family heritage for instilling pride and self-confidence in your heart.

McElmurray’s illustrations are bright and fun. A red headed girl on horseback flying through the sky, an alien spaceship hovering over the city, and a pickle juggler are just a few of the images that will keep you smiling as you read this heartwarming story about faith, family, and Hanukkah.

“It’s a Miracle” also contains the text of the Hanukkah story, three Hanukkah blessings (in English and Hebrew), and a Hebrew to English glossary.