A new, entertaining, and thoughtful addition to the Hanukkah canon.

THE HANUKKAH MAGIC OF NATE GADOL

A mysterious gift-giver brings holiday cheer in the form of presents for all.

With a nod to the late-19th-century immigration of Jews to America, Levine creates a pourquoi tale for the exchange of gifts on Hanukkah. The larger-than-life titular character floats above and around the action wearing a smartly styled blue overcoat and ornate leather boots with a matching leather satchel. His name is taken from the acronym for the four letters on a dreidel, Nes Gadol Hayah and Sham, which translates to “A Great Miracle Happened There” and is the very essence of the great Nate. “He made things last as long as they needed to.” His powers were evident a long time ago, “like that little amount of oil,” and continue as he makes a small amount of chocolate become more than enough for Mrs. Glaser and her children, a Jewish family in steerage, bound for America. Nate helps her son help their Irish neighbors, the O’Malleys, during the terrible winter of 1881. He also helps his old friend Santa in a rooftop encounter. Now, both the O’Malleys and the Glasers have piles of presents for their holiday celebrations, a tradition for the former and something new for the latter. Hawkes uses richly textured acrylic paints and eye-popping swirls of gold to create illustrations that are at once grounded and otherworldly. All characters have pale skin, Nate’s a tad more olive than the others’.

A new, entertaining, and thoughtful addition to the Hanukkah canon. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9741-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Only for dedicated fans of the series.

HOW TO CATCH A MONSTER

From the How To Catch… series

When a kid gets the part of the ninja master in the school play, it finally seems to be the right time to tackle the closet monster.

“I spot my monster right away. / He’s practicing his ROAR. / He almost scares me half to death, / but I won’t be scared anymore!” The monster is a large, fluffy poison-green beast with blue hands and feet and face and a fluffy blue-and-green–striped tail. The kid employs a “bag of tricks” to try to catch the monster: in it are a giant wind-up shark, two cans of silly string, and an elaborate cage-and-robot trap. This last works, but with an unexpected result: the monster looks sad. Turns out he was only scaring the boy to wake him up so they could be friends. The monster greets the boy in the usual monster way: he “rips a massive FART!!” that smells like strawberries and lime, and then they go to the monster’s house to meet his parents and play. The final two spreads show the duo getting ready for bed, which is a rather anticlimactic end to what has otherwise been a rambunctious tale. Elkerton’s bright illustrations have a TV-cartoon aesthetic, and his playful beast is never scary. The narrator is depicted with black eyes and hair and pale skin. Wallace’s limping verses are uninspired at best, and the scansion and meter are frequently off.

Only for dedicated fans of the series. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4894-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A cute, Halloween-y take on the old dare-to-be-you moral.

HARDLY HAUNTED

What could be worse for a house than to be haunted? Unless….

“There was a house on a hill, and that house was worried.” Overgrown with vines and frequented by a curious black cat, the abandoned abode fears that she will remain unoccupied because of her eerie countenance. Supplying the house with rounded, third-story windows and exterior molding that shift to express emotions, Sima takes readers through a tour of the house’s ominous interior. At first, the enchanted homestead tries to suppress her creaky walls, squeaky stairs, and rattling pipes. Despite all efforts to keep “VERY still. And VERY quiet. And VERY calm,” the house comes to find that being a rather creepy residence might actually be fun. The realization dawns on the decrepit dwelling with both relief and joy: “She liked being noisy. Maybe she liked being haunted.” Once the house embraces herself for who she is, the plot moves in a pleasant yet predictable direction: A cheerful family of ghosts loves the house in all her noisy glory and decides to move in. Sima’s lighthearted, cartoony style and cozy palette disarm the book of any frightening elements. The gentle, upbeat vibe makes it a fair choice to remind kids that their differences from others are the key to their belonging. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A cute, Halloween-y take on the old dare-to-be-you moral. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4170-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more