In brief board-book form Newman revisits the familiar Hanukkah traditions she successfully introduced in Eight Nights of Chanukah, illustrated by Elivia Savadier (2005), and Here Is the World, illustrated by Susan Gal (2014).
Here the holiday stands on its own without parodying a Christmas tune or being lost in a compendium of the Jewish year. Of course, a board book has space for much less information. The essential ingredients of the celebration—candles, blessings, latkes, dreidels, and gelt—are mentioned in nine lines of text that all rhyme with “delight.” The finer points of theology, including the miracle Hanukkah commemorates, are left for older children to learn from experience, their own reading, or stories told round the holiday table. The fun is in the detailed pictures. Husband uses cheerful, well-dressed bunnies to depict a family as they celebrate the Jewish holiday American gentiles know best. Some subtle stereotypes still creep in. The family consists of papa, mama, big sister, and baby. A crocodile in a tie and a portly and bespectacled owl are among the friends. The males all wear yarmulkes, and the females all wear dresses. Otherwise they are just like anyone else who can be depicted as talking animals.
Useful for both Jewish families and others seeking to give children a head start on religious pluralism. (Board book. 1-3)