When Rachel’s special, new menorah is accidentally left on the plane, her resourceful Italian grandmother finds a way for the family to light candles and celebrate Hanukkah.
Though Nonna and the cousins celebrate Christmas, Rachel and her family take a trip to visit and bring Hanukkah with them. Rachel carefully packs her carry-on bag with decorations, dreidels, chocolate gelt, candles for the eight nights, and a special hanukkiah on which each branch is shaped like a female Maccabee fighter. Sleepy after the long flight, Rachel forgets her bag when they get off the plane. Nonna is eager to help in the preparations for Hanukkah when Rachel realizes she doesn’t have the menorah. Through tears of disappointment, Rachel teaches Nonna about the menorah. Nonna then surprises her with a clever and beautifully homemade menorah created from her treasured empty perfume bottles. This well-crafted story of an interfaith family focuses on the Hanukkah celebration, lightly blending Italian food—panettone and lasagna—with latkes at a dinner on the first night. Fisman adroitly incorporates the historical significance of Hanukkah into Rachel’s discussion of the menorah, easily working it into a believable story. Pastel-colored drawings successfully extend the story’s action, providing some foreshadowing and flashback scenes when Rachel leaves and remembers her forgotten bag.
A lovely choice. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)