Lighthearted Hanukkah fun.

An invitation to the youngest Hanukkah celebrants to twirl like holiday spinners.

Set to the sprightly rhyme scheme and rhythms of “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed,” this Hanukkah ditty stars five—what else?—miniature dreidels spinning so gleefully that each in turn experiences a minor mishap (e.g., getting dizzy and falling, tripping, and one simply leaving) until only one remains. Following each episode, Mama dreidel calls a professional-looking doctor dreidel who cautions against further spinning—ill-timed advice given that spinning is a dreidel’s holiday raison d’être. In the end, all’s well that spins well, as all five dreidels are reunited and advised to spin again. Logic isn’t the point here, but some slight fun is, and so are holiday symbols: menorahs, wrapped gifts, latkes, the Star of David, and gold-wrapped chocolate gelt are all on display here. Most importantly, the brightly smiling, gaily colored dreidels bear the Hebrew letters nun, gimel, heh, and shin, forming the acronym for the Hebrew saying “Nes gadol haya sham,”meaning “A great miracle happened there.” This refers to Hanukkah’s origin—the miracle of one day’s supply of oil in the menorah in Jerusalem’s Great Temple remaining lit for eight days. Young readers may be aware of those holiday emblems, but even if they aren’t, they’ll likely be acquainted with the song this tale is based on and will gladly frolic about to that cheery game’s rhythms and appreciate this story’s satisfying ending. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Lighthearted Hanukkah fun. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66592-238-8

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022


From the Llama Llama series

In this board book designed for the littlest llama lovers, adorable-as-ever Llama Llama (Llama Llama Red Pajama, 2005, etc.) gets ready for some Halloween fun.

Dewdney’s characteristic spare, apt rhymes convey a lot of action in effortlessly readable fashion. A charming and simple introduction to Halloween and its associated activities, this title finds little Llama Llama choosing and carving a pumpkin, pouring candy into bowls, picking out a costume and, finally, trick-or-treating. The costume Llama Llama decides to don—pointy teeth and a black mask and cape—is enough to frighten and fool his friends but not readers, who will immediately recognize and smile at the silly little mini-Dracula. With Dewdney’s characters as expressive as ever, young readers will be drawn right into the holiday fun, eagerly anticipating which costume Llama Llama will choose and excited to see him scare his friends and score some candy at trick-or-treat. In the equally appealing companion title, Llama Llama Jingle Bells,the little fellow gets ready for Christmas, baking and decorating some cookies in anticipation of Santa’s arrival. This simple holiday title will win Llama Llama new fans, and old friends will want to add it and its companion to their collections. (Board book. 1-2)


Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-0451469786

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015


A trio of monsters enjoy Halloween festivities in this pumpkin-shaped board-book offering.

A fuzzy blue critter with horns, accompanied by a purple dinosaurlike creature and yellow beastie with pigtails, selects a pumpkin from a patch, carves it and takes it to a jack-o’-lantern contest. The rhyming text, with one line per page, is forced and doesn’t scan: “Pumpkin, pumpkin, big and steady, / Costumes and carving, time to get ready!” While the three central characters are appropriately toddler-friendly, monsters dressing up for Halloween is a bit of a conceptual stretch. The shiny orange foil cover and the bright orange pumpkins within are eye-catching, but the rest of the palette—pale blues, greens, grays and browns—causes some of the characters to fade into the scenery in Marts’ quirky cartoons. This slight slice of pumpkin pie will tempt few little trick-or-treaters. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)


Pub Date: June 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-49332-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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