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November 14, 2013 - Image 36

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-11-14

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>> gift guide

Great Reads For Chanukah

Marvelous menorahs, purple gorillas and back to 1964 Berkeley.

Penny Schwartz I Boston (JTA)


gift-giving, angst-ridden purple gorilla is among
the characters who help enliven the Chanukah
celebrations in eight new holiday books for
children, families and young adults. One, With a Mighty
Hand, is not about Chanukah but will be a treasured gift
to add to a family's bookshelves.

Eight is Great
Tilda Balsley, illustrated by Hideko
Kar-Ben ($5.95 board book, $4.95 eBook)
Ages 1-4
Simple rhymes and illustrations enliven
the colorful toddler board book that
plays on the theme of the eight nights of

Thank You For Me!
Rick Recht; illustrated by Ann Koffsky
Jewish World Publishing ($10)
Ages 1-3
The illustrated lullaby, which can be read
or sung, encourages young ones to appre-
ciate themselves and all that surrounds
them. A free download to Rick Recht's
companion song, "Kobi's Lullaby:' and a
link (www.annkoffsky.com) to a color-
ing page by illustrator Ann Koffsky are

ABC Hanukkah Hunt
Tilda Balsley; illustrated by Helen Poole
Kar-Ben ($17.95 hardcover; $7.95 paper;
$6.95 eBook)
Ages 3-8
A lively rhyming alphabet romp through
Chanukah provides plenty of entertain-
ment for young kids. Each large-format
page is filled with cartoon-like illustrations
and a simple riddle that can be solved


November 14 • 2013


Tilda Balsley, the author of many children's books,
including four Jewish-themed Sesame Street titles about
Grover, Big Bird and friends, brings two new offerings,
Eight is Great and ABC Hanukkah Hunt.
Thank You For Me! is perfectly timed for the confluence
this year of Chanukah and Thanksgiving.

by looking at the pictures of flames on
a menorah, a maze to Jerusalem's Holy
Temple and plates full of sugar-coated
doughnuts, or sufganiyot.

ka ..
S aale'S
goost inarvwlotis



Jamie Komgold
'Nonrated by Julie Porten berry

Sadie's Almost Marvelous
Jamie Korngold, illustrated by Julie
Kar-Ben ($17.95 hardcover, $7.95 paper,
$6.95 eBook)
Ages 2-6
What preschooler won't relate to young
Sadie when her carefully crafted and
painted clay menorah shatters into a mil-
lion pieces? Sadie's spirits are lifted when
she discovers that the shamash helper can-
dle holder did not break. All's well when
Sadie uses the pink-and-blue shamash to
light all the household menorahs, starting
a new family tradition.
Julie Fortenberry's colorful illustrations
allow kids to tell the story through the
expressive and energetic art.

The Eighth Menorah
Lauren L. Wohl, illustrated by Laura
Albert Whitman ($16.99 hardcover)
Ages 4-7
In this delightful story, a young boy named
Sam makes a Chanukah menorah in
Hebrew school using a shiny rock he picks
at a park outing. But he frets: What will
his family do with one more menorah? In
phone conversations with his grandmoth-
er, Sam confides that he's keeping a special
Chanukah secret for the family. Their

For young adults, award-winning writer Ruth Feldman
in a coming-of-age novel spins an intricate tale of histori-
cal fiction and fantasy set in 1964 Berkeley, Calif., at the
dawn of the city's free speech movement.
Here are the new titles for Chanukah:

relationship feels authentic and warm.
Readers will wonder along with Sam as he
tries to figure out the perfect new home
for the menorah.
Laura Hughes' illustrations convey a
contemporary, real-world feel. Grandma
lives in a condo in an urban high-rise, and
there's a refreshingly diverse group of kids
at Hebrew school. Rules for how to play
dreidel are included.

Hope Friis, the teen protagonist here, has
an enviable relationship with her grand-
father, who as his health declines gives
Hope the gift of a tallit that belonged to
her grandmother, Miryam, for whom she
is named. The blue threads woven into the
tallit call forth a mysterious visitor, Serakh,
who beckons Hope on a journey back in
time to 11th-century Paris, where she is
challenged to save the life of a Jewish baby.
The mature material, which includes
references to LSD and tragic Jewish history
during the Crusades, is not overly dark or
depressing. Through curiosity and cour-
age, Hope, who has a stutter, finds her own
voice as she faces tough, consequential
The book takes place during the eight
days of Chanukah, which that year fell
very close to Thanksgiving, as it does this

Great For A Gift

Esther's Hanukkah Disaster
Jane Sutton, illustrated by Andy Rowland
Kar-Ben ($17.95 hardcover, $7.95 paper-
back, $6.95 eBook)
Ages 4-9
Poor Esther: The endearing purple
gorilla is looking forward to celebrating
Chanukah with her jungle friends, but
all the gifts she selects turn out wrong.
Worse, the friends give her the "perfect"
Chanukah gifts. But Esther makes it all
right at a Chanukah party where good
friends celebrate together and swap the
Esther's Hanukkah Disaster is a new
favorite book for Barbara Krasner, the
author of many children's stories who
is active in the Association of Jewish
Libraries. "The illustrations are hysteri-
cally funny," she writes in an email.

For Young Adults

The Ninth Day
Ruth Tenzer Feldman
Ooligan Press ($13.95)
Older teens and up

With a Mighty Hand:
The Story in the Torah
Adapted by Amy Ehrlich, paintings by
Daniel Nevins
Candlewick ($29.99)
All ages
Readers of any age will savor the beauti-
fully designed With a Mighty Hand, Amy
Ehrlich's adaptation of the five books of
the Torah with stunning art by Daniel
Nevins. Based on the original biblical text,
Ehrlich approaches the Torah's stories as a
lyrical narrative. She includes the nuanced
details and weaves a story line that brings
the characters to life as humans, with
strengths and flaws.
Nevins' illustrations draw from a rich
palette of purple, red, brown, blue and
ocher. In a full-page illustration of one of
Joseph's dreams, a copper-skinned Joseph
stands tall and regal in his multicolored
coat looming above the stars and moon.
A two-page Torah genealogy, Ehrlich's
introduction and end notes offer readers
helpful explanations to supplement the

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