Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE HANUKKAH HOP! by Erica Silverman


by Erica Silverman, illustrated by Steven D'Amico

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4424-0604-9
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

The arrival of some special guests transforms the traditional family Hanukkah gathering into a dance fest that has everyone moving to the rhythm of a bopping, hopping beat.

Excitement mounts while Rachel and her parents get ready to host the extended family. Streamers, blue balloons and shiny menorahs are all arranged while latkes fry and the family listens to a “jazzy bim-bom beat.” Unlike Lisa Wheeler’s sprightly, zesty jitterbug verse in Jazz Baby (illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, 2007), Silverman’s forced, uneven rhymes are only marginally successful at achieving that bebop syncopation. She seems to struggle with her verse framework to include all the conventional elements (dreidels, menorahs, latkes) and a very brief summary of the origin of the holiday along with the description of a joyous celebration. Her inclusion of a Klezmer band (the Mazel-Tones) injects much-needed energy into the party with its version of the ever-changing refrain. “Biddy-biddy bim-bom / bim-bom bop. / Spin! Swing! Sway! / Dive! Jump Pop! / The party’s going wild / at the Hanukkah Hop!” While the text falls short and is difficult to read aloud with an appropriately fluid musical swing, the digitally rendered cartoon-style art provides retro-cool images of a raucous, frenzied shindig.

An unsuccessful blending of the holiday’s history and rituals with a boogie-woogie theme leaves this Hanukkah addition on the sidelines. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-7)