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December 06, 2012 - Image 66

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-12-06

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arts & entertainment

Children's Books For Chanukah

High seas adventures, food and fun.


Penny Schwartz

Jewish Telegraphic Agency


n imaginative historical tale of
adventure set on the high seas
will captivate young readers this
Chanukah season.
Emanuel and the Hanukkah Rescue is
one of a few new children's books for the
eight-day Festival of Lights, which begins
this year on the evening of Dec. 8.
Meanwhile, two fun-filled books aim
to get food-loving kids of all ages into
the kitchen with tantalizing menus while
offering other fun holiday activities. And,
finally, the latest volume in the Shalom
Sesame series is a book that not only
teaches kids about Chanukah but how to
count as well!

Emanuel and the Hanukkah Rescue
Heidi Smith Hyde, illustrated by Jamet
Akib; Kar-Ben ($17.95 hardcover; $7.95
paperback; $13.95 eBook); ages 5-9.
From the opening pages of Emanuel
and the Hanukkah Rescue, young readers
will know they're in for something out
of the ordinary. Set in the 18th-century
whaling port of New Bedford, Mass., the
fictionalized historical tale by Heidi Smith
Hyde tells the story of a spirited 9-year-
old Jewish boy named Emanuel Aguilar,
whose father is a merchant who sells sail-
ing supplies and other provisions to the
city's whalers.
"Papa, when will I be old enough to
go to sea?" Emanuel asks his father, who
cautions his son against the dangers of
Emanuel yearns to place the family
menorah in the window during Chanukah,
but his father is fearful, recalling the trag-
edy of the Inquisition in his home country
of Portugal, where Jews were not free to
practice their faith.


"This isn't Portugal, Papa. This is
America!" Emanuel protests, reminding
his father that Chanukah celebrates reli-
gious freedom.
On the last day of Chanukah, Emanuel
stows away aboard a whaling ship, leaving a
note for his papa explaining his hope to be
free. But a sudden and vicious storm trans-
forms the fun adventure as Emanuel learns
firsthand the dangers of the sea. By story's
end, the reunited father and son find hope
and courage in the light of Chanukah and
its power to inspire freedom.
Artist Jamel Akib's richly colored pastel
paintings cast a luminous glow across the
landscape. His highly detailed, realistic
illustrations put readers into the story,
from the interiors of the merchant shop
and the family home to the dramatic
scenes at sea. One double-page spread
depicts the busy working waterfront,
where angular, strong whalers unload
crates and barrels from ships.
Hyde was inspired to create the story
after reading an article about Jewish
involvement in New Bedford's whaling
industry. Jews were an integral part of the
industry in New England coastal areas,
she learned, serving as merchants, candle
exporters and even ship owners. Some
Jews in the region practiced their faith in
Hyde says she was struck by the paral-
lels with Chanukah, with its themes of the
miracle of the oil and religious freedom.
In Emanuel, she wanted to explore what it
means to hide one's identity.
"Mostly, I want kids to realize that it's
important to be themselves, not to be
afraid of who they are:' she said.

Hanukkah Sweets and Treats: Holiday
Cooking for Kids
Ronne Randall; Windmill Books ($26.50
hardcover; $11.75 paperback).

Nate Bloom

Special to the Jewish News

Film Openings



Opening Friday, Dec. 7:
Eugene Jarecki, 42, whose prior
films include the
documentary Why
We Fight and the
acclaimed HBO biopic
Reagan, is back in
theaters with a new
documentary, The
House I Live In, which
endeavors to show

December 6 • 2012

that the 40-year war on drugs has
been a failure.
In the documentary Chasing Ice,
former global warming skeptic James
Balog, a National Geographic pho-
tographer, deploys revolutionary
time-lapse cameras that capture the
rapid melting of global glaciers over
a several-year period; the film's origi-
nal theme song, "Before My Time,"
is performed by actress Scarlett
Johansson, 28, and violinist Joshua

This colorful book offers step-by-step
instructions for six holiday recipes includ-
ing Luscious Latkes, Easy Applesauce,
Fudgy Gelt and a Cupcake Menorah. The
large-print format with lots of photographs
and graphics opens with a two-page
spread, "Before You Begin Cooking," with
lists of what you will need as well as safety
precautions and even a section on how to
use measuring spoons.
Boxed sidebars offer little-known facts
on the history of apples, a note on the
nutrition of potatoes (must be before
they're fried in oil) and this astonish-
ing statistic: The largest bakery in Israel
produces up to 250,000 sufganiyot —
Israeli-style filled doughnuts — on each
of the eight days of Chanukah. A simple
glossary defines words including dough,
Maccabees, vitamin and Yiddish.

Maccabee Meals: Food and Fun for
Judye Groner and Madeline Wikler, illus-
trated by Ursula Roma; Kar-Ben ($8.95
paperback; $6.95 eBook); ages 7-12.
Authors Judye Groner and Madeline
Wikler know a thing or two about kids
and fun for the Jewish holidays. The pair
have co-written more than two dozen
books, including their first, My Very Own
Haggadah, which has sold more than 2
million copies.
Maccabee Meals features large, easy-to-
read print, lots of lively illustrations and
a selection of enticing, unique recipes
such as Waffle Lakes with Yogurt, or a
tea sandwich in the design of a menorah.
Interspersed with the recipes and draw-
ings are short stories and other Chanukah
facts. One box tells readers that Chanukah
and Christmas coincide once every 38
years. Who knew?
All recipes are marked with a dreidel
symbol indicating whether they are dairy,

home to put his life back together,
Playing for Keeps is written by Robbie
Fox, 40, a veteran TV-film writer
whose father, Charles Fox, 72, a well-
known composer ("Killing Me Softly"),
recently was awarded the Polish gov-
ernment's highest cultural medal for
his work in rebuilding Jewish-Polish
cultural ties.

Bell, 44.

Other Notes
The HBO film Mel Brooks Strikes
Back, an all-encompassing interview

A romantic comedy about a charm-
ing, down-on-his luck former soccer
star (Gerard Butler) who returns

Brooks recently did in Los Angeles,
premieres at 9 p.m. Monday, Dec.10,
on HBO.

d, &


meat or parve —
and with a dreidel
score ranging
from easy (no
cooking involved)
to the harder use
of a hot stove
with an adult.
Instructions for
crafts, playing
dreidel and candle blessings complete the
Parents will most appreciate the page
on party etiquette and this one-liner:
"Remember, good cooks always leave the
kitchen neat and clean:'

The Count's Chanukah Countdown
Tilda Balsley and Ellen Fischer, illustrated
by Tom Leigh; Kar-Ben ($16.95 hardcover;
$6.95 paperback; $13.95 eBook); ages 2-6.
At a Chanukah party on Sesame Street,
Grover and the Count welcome visiting
Israeli Muppet friends Brosh and Avigail in
this first of four books to be issued in a joint
venture between Kar-Ben Publishing and
Sesame Street. In this cute tale, the Sesame
Street friends tell the story of Chanukah,
feast on lakes and play dreidel; and the
Count teaches everyone that "eight" is the
perfect Chanukah number.

More on the new

Hitchcock film: In

addition to much of
the cast and char-
acters portrayed, it
turns out that the
film's British director
is Jewish, too. Sacha
Gervasi, 45, has a
Canadian Jewish
mother; in 2010, he wed theater
producer Jessica de Rothschild, 38,
daughter of the banking family's Sir
Evelyn de Rothschild, 83, in a posh
London synagogue.

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