THE MIRACLE JAR

A HANUKKAH STORY

Eight-year-old Sophie and her family get ready to celebrate Hanukkah by cleaning their small cottage, preparing holiday treats and shining the menorah. The family needs a week’s worth of oil to light the candles and cook treats, however, unlikely with the amount left in the jar. With a snow storm keeping them home, they find ways to make the oil last for eight days, paralleling the miracle of the oil that lit the menorah after Judah and the Maccabees rededicated their sacred temple. Spare use and reuse of the oil they have provides seven nights of lights and traditional foods. On the eighth, Mother creatively uses a piece of cheesecloth to wipe the jar’s sides, recovering enough oil to coat the pan and make one apple pancake to share. The family gratefully acknowledges “the nicest gifts are the ones that surprise us the most.” Penn’s storytelling provides a real sense of the holiday’s significance through joyful, yet simple celebration while Lyon’s cheerful and energetic watercolors depict an “old country” environment. A nice addition to classic retellings. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-933718-16-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2008

HOW TO CATCH THE EASTER BUNNY

From the How To Catch… series

This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers.

The bestselling series (How to Catch an Elf, 2016, etc.) about capturing mythical creatures continues with a story about various ways to catch the Easter Bunny as it makes its annual deliveries.

The bunny narrates its own story in rhyming text, beginning with an introduction at its office in a manufacturing facility that creates Easter eggs and candy. The rabbit then abruptly takes off on its delivery route with a tiny basket of eggs strapped to its back, immediately encountering a trap with carrots and a box propped up with a stick. The narrative focuses on how the Easter Bunny avoids increasingly complex traps set up to catch him with no explanation as to who has set the traps or why. These traps include an underground tunnel, a fluorescent dance floor with a hidden pit of carrots, a robot bunny, pirates on an island, and a cannon that shoots candy fish, as well as some sort of locked, hazardous site with radiation danger. Readers of previous books in the series will understand the premise, but others will be confused by the rabbit’s frenetic escapades. Cartoon-style illustrations have a 1960s vibe, with a slightly scary, bow-tied bunny with chartreuse eyes and a glowing palette of neon shades that shout for attention.

This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3817-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

LEPRECHAUN VS. EASTER BUNNY

Slapstick fun for any season.

Sometimes the holidays get messy.

When a light-skinned leprechaun—complete with red beard and clover-adorned hat—appears at the end of a rainbow on a hill dotted with tulips, he’s all set to bury his gold…until the Easter Bunny hops over in a huff. The leprechaun is digging up all the tulips where the bunny was planning to hide his eggs. Their argument escalates, and readers will be reminded of Looney Tunes battles between Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck as each employs more and more outrageous traps and tricks to humiliate the other. The duo keep the fight up until a new visitor arrives; although St. Valentine’s Day has passed, a plump, light-skinned Cupid is ready to start planning for next year—allowing the two to join forces against a common enemy. The text is told in rhyming stanzas: “ ‘Gold!’ cried the bunny, / but when he bent over, / the leprechaun pushed him / facedown in the clover!” It’s not Shakespeare, but it moves the plot along. The digital illustrations are riotously funny, and the final image of the three spring holiday mascots scowling at one another, having reached an uneasy friendship, will have readers giggling all year long. Skilled storytellers will enjoy hamming up the action as the characters attempt to assert their dominance over their hillside home. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Slapstick fun for any season. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-316-37426-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2022

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