Wintry scenes form the background for anticipation of the upcoming weeklong celebration of Hanukkah.
A young family enjoys the pleasures of playing in the snow then comes inside to a warm house, where the traditional preparations for Hanukkah begin, from creating and displaying decorations to the making of latkes to the counting of candles for the menorah. A celebratory eagerness is present in the simple rhyming text. “When glitter and paper are spread on the floors / And we hang decorations on windows and doors… / Hanukkah is on its way. / When cousins come over to stir, fry, and bake / The applesauce, latkes, and cookies we’ll make… / Hanukkah is on its way.” The sweet, charming illustrations, many in double-page spreads, depict how the family works together to celebrate with food, songs, and a game of dreidel. Unfortunately, there is no mention of the holiday’s significance or the reasons for the traditions outlined, perhaps indicating an assumed secular audience. Other aspects of the depicted celebration confirm this. They prepare decorated cookies rather than doughnuts, the traditional, oil-fried sweet treat offered after latkes, and the last scene, in which the family gazes through the window on a cold winter night, does not include the all-important lit menorah as it is placed in many traditional Jewish homes (though it is present in several interior scenes).
Though it is not for every Jewish household, this Hanukkah book for the very young has its place. (Picture book. 3-5)