Esther's Hanukkah Disaster

Esther's Hanukkah Disaster

5.0 2
by Jane Sutton, Andy Rowland

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this adorable and brightly illustrated Hanukkah story from Sutton (Don’t Call Me Sidney) and Rowland (Little Nelly’s Big Book), Esther the gorilla joyfully sets out to the Jungle Store to get everything she needs to give Hanukkah presents to her friends. She happily chooses the gifts, but as she hands them out to her monkey, elephant, hyena, turtle, and zebra pals, Esther realizes that her gifts may not have been as perfectly thought-out as she had hoped (such as the jogging suit she purchases for the turtle). Esther’s innocent mistakes and her ingenious solution will prompt laughter. Ages 4–9. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
Esther is a purple gorilla who is last minute gift purchases for Hanukkah go awry. When Esther realizes that Hanukkah is literally around the corner, she scrambles to get her shopping done at the local jungle mall. It is clear that Esther is not thinking clearly about her gift giving, although the purchase of socks, sweaters, and clothes does sort of underline the old Saturday Night Live joke about how eight days of practical Hanukkah gifts are not as good as Christmas presents. As Esther begins to hand out her presents, it becomes evident that she has not even thought about which gift should be given to which recipient. A monkey gets elephant-sized socks; a turtle gets a jogging suit; and an elephant gets an insensitive 100 Jokes About Elephants book. On the other hand, it is clear that Esther's friends have given real thought to the gifts they have gotten for Esther and selected exactly the presents that she wants. When Esther realizes her mistake, she organizes an eighth night Hanukkah party which turns into a gift swap, but will serve as a jumping off point for a discussion with young children about how to give gifts that are appropriate for friends and, perhaps, why one should not leave shopping till the last minute. The computer-generated illustrations are colorful and sweet and, while children may question the reason that jungle animals are celebrating Hanukkah, there is nothing essentially wrong with the message of matching gifts to the recipient's needs or interests. However, emphasizing the gift-giving aspect of the holiday over its traditions seems wrongly focused. Back matter includes an abbreviated explanation of the origins of the holiday. Overall, this is a pleasant if unremarkable book, and a secondary purchase. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
Kirkus Reviews
Esther the gorilla chooses a batch of inappropriate Hanukkah gifts in this misguided tale. Esther lives in an upscale jungle neighborhood complete with smartphones, a swanky mall and all the pristine flora of a well-kept jungle suburb. There, menorahs are lit and displayed in windows on the first night of the holiday. Esther makes her rounds with various gifts for her friends, which turn out to be a bit thoughtless. Sarah the monkey receives a pair of socks big enough for an elephant, Hal the hyena gets a jungle gym he cannot climb, Josephine the turtle finds a jogging suit ridiculous, and Oscar the elephant is insulted by the book 100 Jokes About Elephants. In contrast, Esther receives some wonderful gifts, which causes her to become disconcerted with her own poor choices. Though Sarah tells her that "[p]resents are not the most important part of Hanukkah," Esther decides to hold a party on the last night to resolve her blunders. After lighting candles, eating latkes and singing songs, everyone exchanges Esther's gifts so that each friend leaves with something suitable. Deeply hued paintings of anthropomorphic middle-class life are populated by well-dressed animal caricatures; they emphasize the unfortunate theme of a shopping-oriented holiday rather than the more significant features of a Hanukkah observance. Not a great choice for this year's holiday list. (author's note) (Picture book. 3-6)

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Product Details

Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 10.20(h) x 2.70(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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Esther's Hanukkah Disaster 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Oh, my! Esther the purple gorilla was in trouble because she forgot all about shopping for Hanukkah. She did have a shopping list prepared, but there wasn’t anything on it for her friends. “Bananas, bananas, bananas, leaves, bananas.” That would never do because not everyone wanted that sort of thing for Hanukkah. Well, maybe Sarah who was a monkey, but certainly not Hal who was a hyena. No that would never do. Off to the Jungle Store she went to shop for those very special Hanukkah gifts, or so Esther thought they were special. She wheeled her bamboo cart right to the clothing department and began to shop. “What unusual socks!” Into the cart they went. Esther rushed thought the store finding Hanukkah gifts that were sure to please. She smiled, giggled, and laughed out loud as she read 100 Jokes about Elephants, something that Oscar the elephant would certainly love. After she wrapped her gifts in pretty in pink paper, Esther “lit the shamash candle and said the special blessing.” After the two candles in her menorah had burned down “it was time for Esther to deliver her presents.” Things began to go terribly wrong. The socks were too big and those elephant jokes were in very bad taste. Was there anything Esther could do to make up for her mistakes? This is the hilarious tale of Esther the purple gorilla and her near disastrous Hanukkah gifts. Esther had forgotten all about Hanukkah and in her haste to shop, she didn’t think about her friends’ need. The funniest one, of course, was when she handed Oscar that book of elephant jokes. “There should be a law against elephant jokes,” he declared. The charming twist at the end fortunately gets Esther out of her Hanukkah dilemma. The artwork is bold, colorful, and has just the right touch of zany to please the young reader. In the back of the book is a brief discussion about Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. Quill says: Young readers are sure to laugh at the zany, near disastrous Hanukkah shopping experience of Esther, the purple gorilla!
RozRR1 More than 1 year ago
A charming tale of friendship, celebration, and shopping. My grandchildren will love it.