The story of war, destruction and renewal in ancient Judea, fueled by the Jewish determination to freely maintain a belief in one God.
Adler recounts the plight of the small Jewish army led against Greek King Antiochus IV first by the old priest Mattathias and then by his son Judah in a direct, active voice. Throughout, explanations are provided for the cause of the conflict, the meaning of the word Maccabee and why the Jewish army was known by that name and legend of the fabled ner tamid, or eternal light, that remained lit for eight days with only one day’s supply of oil. Diminutive, often detailed Biblical scenes in acrylic paints complement the plainspoken narrative. A final, contemporary two-page view of menorah lighting and dreidel play appears along with a basic description of how the holiday is celebrated today with songs, fried potato pancakes, jelly doughnuts and an explanation of the dreidel’s Hebrew acronym for the sentence, “A great miracle happened there.” There is only brief mention of the sometime modern-day practice of giving gifts.
This very traditional chronicle remains true to the legendary Judaic story, making it an excellent introduction to the holiday. (recipe, game directions) (Picture book/religion. 6-8)