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A CONFUSED HANUKKAH

AN ORIGINAL STORY OF CHELM

Hanukkah is approaching, the Rabbi’s out of town, and the villagers have forgotten how to celebrate, so they send Yossel to the next town to find out what the traditional observance entails. Yossel unknowingly ends up in a Christian town that’s in the midst of preparing for Christmas and learns that they observe “the holiday” with tree decorating. This jars a memory as Yossel recalls the festival of lights, while the man he meets tells him it’s more like the festival of presents, food, and the fat man in a velvet suit. Returning to his town, Yossel convinces everyone to prepare for Hanukkah by decorating a tree with matzo balls, dreidels, and menorahs and dressing the fat Shmuel in a blue velvet suit, “Oy, Oy, Oy.” The Rabbi returns to this uncertain scene, recounts the story of the Maccabees, and reminds the villagers of the traditional Hanukkah customs as they all celebrate together. Like Eric Kimmel’s The Chanukkah Tree (1988), this version attempts an unnecessary dual approach to the holiday season. Schindler’s comical rendition captures the Eastern European environment; however this is needless folly even for Chelm. (Folktales. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-525-46969-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2004

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MONSTER MATH

Miranda’s book counts the monsters gathering at a birthday party, while a simple rhyming text keeps the tally and surveys the action: “Seven starved monsters are licking the dishes./Eight blow out candles and make birthday wishes.” The counting proceeds to ten, then by tens to fifty, then gradually returns to one, which makes the monster’s mother, a purple pin-headed octopus, very happy. The book is surprisingly effective due to Powell’s artwork; the color has texture and density, as if it were poured onto the page, but the real attention-getter is the singularity of every monster attendee. They are highly individual and, therefore, eminently countable. As the numbers start crawling upward, it is both fun and a challenge to try to recognize monsters who have appeared in previous pages, or to attempt to stay focused when counting the swirling or bunched creatures. The story has glints of humor, and in combination with the illustrations is a grand addition to the counting shelf. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-201835-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1999

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A PLUMP AND PERKY TURKEY

The leaves have changed, Thanksgiving nears—and the canny turkeys of Squawk Valley have decamped, leaving local residents to face the prospect of a birdless holiday. What to do? They decide to lure a bird back by appealing to its vanity, placing a want ad for a model to help sculptors creating turkey art, then “inviting” the bird to dinner. The ploy works, too, for out of the woods struts plump and perky Pete to take on the job. Shelly debuts with brightly hued cartoon scenes featuring pop-eyed country folk and deceptively silly-looking gobblers. Pete may be vain, but he hasn’t lost the wiliness of his wild ancestors; when the townsfolk come for him, he hides amidst a flock of sculpted gobblers—“There were turkeys made of spuds, / there were turkeys made of rope. / There were turkeys made of paper, / there were turkeys made of soap. / The room was full of turkeys / in a wall to wall collage. / For a clever bird like Pete / it was perfect camouflage.” He makes his escape, and is last seen lounging on a turkey-filled tropical beach as the disappointed Squawk Valleyites gather round the table for a main course of . . . shredded wheat. Good for a few giggles. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-890817-91-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2001

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