The Golden Dreydl

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Sara finds her family's Chanukah celebrations boring until Tante Miriam arrives at the holiday party. She gives Sara a Golden Dreydl that is really an enchanted princess who guides Sara on a journey into a magical world. Imaginative drawings depict a universe where Jewish history collides with fantasy.
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The Golden Dreydl

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Overview

Sara finds her family's Chanukah celebrations boring until Tante Miriam arrives at the holiday party. She gives Sara a Golden Dreydl that is really an enchanted princess who guides Sara on a journey into a magical world. Imaginative drawings depict a universe where Jewish history collides with fantasy.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Lydia Ferguson
As the holidays arrive, Sara laments the fact that she cannot partake in the same Christmas activities as her friends. Instead of hanging lights and ornaments on a Christmas tree or baking and decorating cookies, Sara must go with her family to her Aunt Leah's Chanukah party. Then, during the "boring" Chanukah activities, an unexpected guest arrives bearing a bag of presents for the children. It is Tante Miriam, a mysterious relative who shows up occasionally without warning. Much to Sara's dismay, Miriam gives her a golden dreydl for her Chanukah present. Sara fights with her older brother, the dreydl flies into Aunt Leah's brand new television, cracking the screen. To Sara's amazement, the television opens up a portal to another world, where she finds out that her golden dreydl is actually a princess in disguise. The princess is the daughter of the biblical King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. They transformed her into a dreydl at her request, providing her with the sacred letters of the dreydl—nun, gimel, hey, and shin—for her protection. When the princess is kidnapped, Sara is called upon to rescue her and restore order to the kingdom. Sara is transported from the lackluster normalcy of her aunt's house to a world full of adventure. There, she encounters increasingly bizarre characters, including a riddling fool and mystical, yet comical brain-sucking demons. Artist Ilene Winn-Lederer's detailed drawings perfectly illustrate the whimsy of Kushner's imaginative world. The author appropriately addresses the issues of peer pressure and anxiety about being "different" that accompany young adulthood, while the story itself retains a sense of playfulness. Through a whirlwind ofgames, riddles, and magic, Sara quickly learns that the dreydl, like her religious heritage, holds more for her than she ever imagined. Reviewer: Lydia Ferguson
School Library Journal

Gr 4-6-Grouchy Sara, bored with her family's Chanukah party, perks up when mysterious Tante Miriam arrives and doles out special presents. Sara's gift of a large golden dreydl(a traditional Chanukah toy) kicks off a magical journey. The object is an enchanted princess in disguise, and she leads Sara on an adventure through an alternate world peopled with biblical characters. This story originated as a Jewish riff on The Nutcracker Suite, with narration by Kushner and Tchaikovsky-influenced klezmer music by Shirim Klezmer Orchestra. On CD, on Sound & Spirit(Kushner's show on public radio), or in live performance, this is a lively and entertaining story. However, it falls flat as a novel. Cardboard characters, a convoluted plot, and a veneer of modern cool weigh it down. Neither Sara nor readers learn anything about Chanukah or Jewish tradition from this brush with Judaic symbols, and without the music the story feels random and uninspired. The twisty, mystical line drawings make intriguing decorations, but the illustrations showing human faces appear lumpy and unpleasant. An additional purchase for large collections.-Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
It's the winter holiday season and Sara, who longs for strings of twinkling lights and a glittery Christmas tree, is jealous of her Christian friends' traditions. She's bored and grouchy at her family's annual Chanukah party and not at all thrilled by her Tante (Aunt) Miriam's gift of a golden dreydl. But what Sara doesn't know is that her present has magical powers. Later that night, Sara is transported into a looking-glass world of adventure complete with biblical characters, an enchanted princess, a riddle-spouting Fool and some serious demons. The concept is winning and some of the language is lovely, but despite the fact that Sara's adventure is brimming with action, it fails to catch fire or even pull the reader along, and the multifaceted message is muddled. The illustrations are beautiful, though-richly-detailed, cheeky and charming-and they help compensate for the missing magic in the text. (Fiction. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580891356
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/2007
  • Series: Nun, Gimel, Hey, Shin Series
  • Edition description: New
  • Pages: 126
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

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