The On My Own Holidays series offers explanatory information about different traditions in a format suited to beginning readers and in an impartial, instructional voice. Hanukkah by Cathy Goldberg Fishman, illus. by Mary O'Keefe Young, offers a detailed version of the Hanukkah story and describes how Jews celebrate. Also in the series is Ramadan by Susan Douglass, illus. by Jeni Reeves, and Christmas Around the World by Emily Kelly, illus. by Joni Oeltjenbruns, the latter originally issued in 1986. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
A beginning reader, part of the "On My Own—Holidays" series, this soft cover book is a factual account of the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah, its history and how it is generally celebrated today. The author begins with the "amazing story" of "events that happened more than two thousand years ago...in Judea." The history of the holiday is well done and very readable, emphasizing the importance of self-rule and religious freedom which led to the successful revolt of Mattathias and his five sons against the Syrian rulers of their country and the rededication of the Temple with the small jar of oil that lasted eight days. The second half of the book relates today's observances and includes the fact that Hanukkah always comes on the same day in the Hebrew month, regardless of its English date. It covers modern day celebrations, including the correct way to place and light candles in the menorah, or hanukkiah, eating of latkes and sufganiot (jelly doughnuts), playing dreidel, and having parties. With realistic pastel pictures, this book is an excellent sourcebook for Hanukkah and a good choice for an overall view of the holiday. 2004, Lerner, Ages 5 to 8.
— Judy Chernak
School Library Journal
Gr 2-3-The first two-thirds of this book presents a simple history of the holiday, giving beginning readers a feeling for the events that took place. The last third of the text explores some of the ways Hanukkah is celebrated today and includes instructions on how to play dreidel. Sketchy watercolor illustrations show a multigenerational family enjoying various activities. Filling a need for material written at an easy reading level, Hanukkah does an adequate job of introducing children to the history and traditions surrounding the holiday.-M. A. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.