A pair of big-city bears celebrates Hanukkah and Christmas Eve in their shared apartment in this sweet, age-appropriate story that borrows the structure of O. Henry’s classic Christmas story, “The Gift of the Magi.”
Boris is a musician who grew up in Russia; he celebrates Hanukkah. Stella is a baker whose family came from Italy; she celebrates Christmas. Each wants to buy a special present for the other for the holiday, but both bears have just a few coins in their individual banks. Stella sells her small but beloved Christmas tree, growing outside in a pot on their balcony, and uses the proceeds to buy a new dreidel from Israel for Boris. At the same time, Boris sells his dreidel collection to buy a sparkling glass star for the top of Stella’s tree. Inviting illustrations are filled with the details of the bears’ cozy apartment and their joint celebration of the eighth night of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve, complete with potato latkes and Italian panettone cake. A neat, touching conclusion shows the bears celebrating and making plans for starting a new collection of dreidels, as well as growing a new Christmas tree with seeds from a pine cone from the original tree.
An inclusive, accessible interpretation of O. Henry’s beloved story and a “perfect gift” for families who celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah. (Picture book. 4-8)