Hanukkah at Valley Forge

Overview

A soldier tells George Washington the miraculous story of how a ragtag army of Jewish soldiers defeated a much larger force of powerful Greeks, a tale that provides just the kind of inspiration the General needs. 'Quietly beautiful watercolor illustrations draw a visual distinction between the frigid blue Pennsylvania night and the golden light of ancient Israel, which is further reflected in the warm glow of the Hanukkah candles.' -School Library Journal

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2006-09-14 Hardcover New This is a NEW Book. May show slight signs of shelf wear. Tracking is provided.

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Overview

A soldier tells George Washington the miraculous story of how a ragtag army of Jewish soldiers defeated a much larger force of powerful Greeks, a tale that provides just the kind of inspiration the General needs. 'Quietly beautiful watercolor illustrations draw a visual distinction between the frigid blue Pennsylvania night and the golden light of ancient Israel, which is further reflected in the warm glow of the Hanukkah candles.' -School Library Journal

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The young Jewish soldier at the center of this story doesn't seem to have much to celebrate. Nonetheless, he dons a yarmulke and lights candles for the first night of Hanukkah-drawing none other than General Washington to his door. As the menorah casts a glow on the general's face, the soldier recounts the story of the Maccabees, and Washington finds solace in the parallels between that ancient struggle and his own ("We too have a cruel enemy who leaves us only with the choice of brave resistance or abject submission"). Basing their story on a true incident (explained in an endnote), the team behind Paul Revere's Midnight Ride creates a thoughtful and touching book. The volume moves fluidly between the two time periods, infusing the scenes with urgency and intensity, and the portrait of Washington here is not only heroic, but human. An excellent reminder of the relevancy and importance of the holiday's message through the ages. Ages 5-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz
After two long hard years at war, General Washington is at Valley Forge on a cold December night, deeply worried about his troops. As he passes a hut, he notices a young man lighting a candle. As one "of the children of Abraham," the man explains to Washington, and to the reader, the story of the Hanukkah he is commemorating in prayer, the miracle of the Festival of Lights. The general sees a parallel between the successful fight of the ancient Jews against tyranny and his against the British, noting that "miracles may still be possible." In an author's note, Krensky admits that this tale "must be taken on faith," but specifically details the facts on which the informative and inspirational story is based. Harlin's naturalistic double-page scenes depict both the Valley Forge setting and the ancient Mediterranean locales of the historic tale. Color is used effectively in producing emotions—first the dull cold blues of the winter camp, then the brighter tans of the struggle of the Israelites. The yellow candlelight adds a symbolic, uplifting force. Formal page designs with white framed scenes against dark pages reinforce the historic qualities of the visual telling.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-The presence of Jews in the American Revolution is the subject of this fictional encounter between General George Washington and a Polish immigrant fighting with the Continental Army. As Washington surveys his troops on a cold winter's evening, he stops at a hut to watch the soldier as he lights candles and murmurs a prayer. The man explains that it's Hanukkah, and tells the general the ancient story of the fight for religious freedom against King Antiochus. Likening the Jews' struggle and ultimate triumph against a powerful oppressor to the American fight for independence provides a bridge between these two men and broadens the scope of the tale. Quietly beautiful watercolor illustrations draw a visual distinction between the frigid blue Pennsylvania night and the golden light of ancient Israel, which is further reflected in the warm glow of the Hanukkah candles. An author's note details the historical facts upon which this anecdote is based, providing an interesting perspective through which to view a familiar holiday story.-Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Taking a small segment of American Revolutionary history noted in Jacob Rader Marcus's United States Jewry 1776-1985, Krensky constructs a story around an American soldier's Hanukkah observance one cold December night at Valley Forge. When the weary and troubled George Washington comes upon a soldier's private lighting of the menorah in his cabin, the Polish-born Jewish warrior offers an explanation of the holiday and ritual. Patiently listening, Washington wisely parallels the struggle for freedom in which they are both engaged with that of the Maccabees' battle. Both are able to gain a bit of hope and resolve through the idea that belief in miracles is much needed in the effort to create a better world. Watercolors in deep purple hues show wintry Valley Forge scenes paralleled by the golden glows of the ancient Temple confrontation and combine to portray, through life-like portrait-style illustrations, the emotional significance of the verbal exchange between Washington and his unnamed soldier. A beautiful and excellent bit of historical drama and fiction based on two analogous events in history. (Picture book. 7-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525477389
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/14/2006
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.02 (w) x 11.32 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

"I did not have the kind of childhood most people would choose to write about. It was happy and uneventful, with only the occasional bump in the night to keep me on my toes. In my spare time, however, I often imagined myself in various stories — as Mighty Mouse, Robin Hood, Popeye or Superman.

"I always liked to make up stories, especially lying in bed at night before I fell asleep.

"It was not until I was twenty that I actually took up ceative writing. One of my favorite parts of the process was imagining myself in various characters' shoes, even if those characters - dragons for example - didn't wear shoes at all. A year later, in 1975, I graduated from Hamilton College and began a six-month internship at the New York Times Book Review.

"Since then I have been a full-time writer for children. I married my wife, Joan, in 1984,and we settled in my hometown of Lexington, Massachusetts, where we live with our two sons, Andrew and Peter.

"When I feel like I've spent enough time hunched over my computer, I like to play soccer and softball, and read books written by other people."

copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

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