The good folk of Chelm ponder the perfect thank you for a Hanukkah gift.
Just before Hanukkah, the mayor of Lublin gives the Chelmites a wonderful present: a large menorah to light on each of the eight nights of the festival. Much discussion goes into deciding upon the best way to acknowledge this gift. The first suggestion is to bring a bundle of potato latkes along with applesauce to the mayor. Alas, the bearer of this gift gets hungry and scarfs down all the latkes while his horse slurps up the applesauce. The second suggestion is to bring the mayor “two big barrelfuls of special Chelm snow.” Alas, the snow melts. The next suggestion is to present the mayor with a hand-carved dreidel. Alas, the Chelmite carver gets hopelessly lost and returns home—with the dreidel. Finally, the villagers, all white, listen to Yitzi, a small boy who has been trying to join in the deliberations. The gift, displayed on the last night of Hanukkah, is perfect and lights up the sky. Ungar’s tale draws upon the characteristic Chelm folklore about villagers who are good of heart but not good in the thinking department. His full-bleed watercolor monotone prints pulse with kinetic swirls of blue and gold, recalling Chagall.
Not laugh-out-loud funny but a pleasant addition to Hanukkah collections. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-7)