Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Natalie Barnes ; illustrated by Andrea Stegmaier

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-68464-441-4
Publisher: Kane Miller

Families in a vibrant community celebrate Hanukkah.

People bustle around in the wintry weather, preparing for the holiday. On the first holiday night, Max, his mother, and his grandparents light the first candle. Throughout the book, varied festivities take place in different homes. After lighting the menorah, families give gifts, prepare foods such as jelly doughnuts, latkes, and Hanukkah cookies topped with Jewish stars, and play dreidel. Aunts, uncles, and cousins come to visit; a young couple (David is dark-skinned; Jillian is light-skinned) celebrate their first Hanukkah in a new apartment. On the eighth night, families gather in the synagogue for a big party and the rabbi begins to tell the story of the holiday’s origins. At home, Max and his mom have lit all eight candles of their menorah, and as they look out their window, “fireworks burst overhead.” This relatively new Hanukkah tradition ends the festival and this straightforward tale perfectly. Although some streets are pictured with old-fashioned cobblestones, the colorful scenes also depict modern-looking houses and buildings. (Could that be the London Eye on the last spread in this English import?) Max and his family are light-skinned, as are most characters in their community, though several people of color also appear. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A simple, contemporary introduction to the holiday focused on the children’s point of view.

(Picture book. 5-7)