My favorite Hanukkah book for years has been Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins. I’ll happily pull it out and read it to whoever wants to listen every year. As I noted in my review, though, it’s really too wordy for very young children.
This year, I also fell in love (not surprisingly) with Chanukah Lights by Michael J. Rosen and Robert Sabuda. Those who know the name Robert Sabuda, though, will know that this is an elaborate pop-up book. The text is simple and moving, and would probably be fine for little ones, except for the fragility of the art work. Last week, though, I was challenged to find a Hanukkah book that would appeal to two-year-olds, and so ignored the three other books I have notes for reviews on to hunt some down. Here are a few I found:
Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah. Illustrated by Olga and Aleksey Ivanov. The lyrics to the classic Hanukkah song are paired here with appealingly bright acrylic paintings featuring a modern family – grandparents, parents, two children, and a dog. The tune is written out on the first page, so those unfamiliar with (or rusty on) the song can still learn it. It’s bright, bouncy and short while covering the basics of Hanukkah – perfect for young children.
Hooray for Hanukkah by Fran Manushkin. Illustrated by Carolyn Croll.
Here, a menorah tells about growing brighter and brighter on each of the eight nights of Hanukkah, and what its family does to celebrate each night. While still fairly brief, this one has a sentence or two on each page, and so has room to get a little more into the holiday. The pictures show a large and happy early twentieth-century family, done in what looks to my untrained eye like watercolor with colored pencil.
Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah by Susan L. Roth. It’s the same classic Hanukkah song, and the music is still included. This smaller format book is illustrated with paper and fabric collage featuring a family of mice. This version has a sweet and clearly handmade look.
Hanukkah: A Counting Book by Emily Sper. This is a counting book – from one to eight, obviously – with the names of the numbers written out in English, Hebrew masculine, Hebrew feminine, and Yiddish. All of the non-English words have American phonetic pronunciation written out as well as the words being written in Hebrew letters. After the shames candle is introduced, the counting proceeds with an appropriate number of Hanukkah-related objects, from one menorah to four dreidels, six heroes, and eight nights, on one page. The facing page is all black, with the numbers in the different language and cutouts of that number of candles, so that they show up brightly against the blackness . The combination of all these elements makes for a sleek, attractive book.
Do you have any favorite Hanukkah books?