The Miracle Jar

Overview

Sophie and her brother are excited by the arrival of Hanukkah, and they happily clean the cottage and shine the Menorah as their gift to the family. But when their mother shares her worry that they do not have enough cooking oil to last eight days, their father tells them the story behind the holiday celebration and the miracle of the oil. Inspired by the story, the family creates its own Miracle Jar and watches the oil disappear as they enjoy the special food that each day brings. The family's hope and faith is ...

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The Miracle Jar: A Hanukkah Story

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Overview

Sophie and her brother are excited by the arrival of Hanukkah, and they happily clean the cottage and shine the Menorah as their gift to the family. But when their mother shares her worry that they do not have enough cooking oil to last eight days, their father tells them the story behind the holiday celebration and the miracle of the oil. Inspired by the story, the family creates its own Miracle Jar and watches the oil disappear as they enjoy the special food that each day brings. The family's hope and faith is confirmed when a last wipe of the cloth produces enough oil to prepare the eight day's treat.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Naomi Milliner
Outside, the weather is heavy with snow; inside the house, it is warm and cozy. It's also the first night of Hanukkah—perhaps a hundred years ago—in "the Old Country." Eight-year-old Sophie and her younger brother Ruben are so excited about the upcoming celebration that they offer their gifts ahead of time: Sophie sweeps floors, and Ruben polishes the cherished brass menorah their grandfather crafted fifty years earlier. Along with lighting the family heirloom, Sophie eagerly anticipates another holiday tradition: a different fried treat each night of Hanukkah. Her mother is willing to comply with her daughter's wishes, but there's an unexpected hitch: the family is almost out of cooking oil, and they cannot get more because of the snow. Naturally, this situation leads Dad to explain the miracle of long ago when the Maccabees' scant amount of oil lasted eight days. The tale inspires Sophie to try for a similar miracle, making their oil last through the holiday. For the next seven nights, the menorah is lit, the dreidl spun, and traditional fare like potato pancakes and jelly doughnuts prepared and enjoyed. But by the last night, all the oil is gone… or is it? Penn enables the reader to identify with Sophie and her world, transcending time and place with her gentle, warm storytelling. Lyon's artwork imparts a soft, old-fashioned quality that complements the story nicely. The only disappointment about this book is the complete lack of recipes. Not only would their inclusion have opened up a fun cooking opportunity, it would have been interesting to see and try recipes from so long ago. Reviewer: Naomi Milliner
School Library Journal

K-Gr 2

In this twist on a familiar theme, a family from "the Old Country" spends the holiday snowed in at their cozy cottage, but must make a small amount of cooking oil last long enough to cook all eight Hanukkah treats. Father tells the children the Hanukkah tale while Mother prepares the meals, using oil from the Miracle Jar over and over until the last night when it appears there is nothing left. On this night, Mother's ingenuity is the true miracle, as she manages to find one more drop of oil for the final holiday treat. Watercolor spreads depict the family in muted colors and simple patterns. A satisfying holiday tale with a nostalgic feel.-Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library

Kirkus Reviews
Eight-year-old Sophie and her family get ready to celebrate Hanukkah by cleaning their small cottage, preparing holiday treats and shining the menorah. The family needs a week's worth of oil to light the candles and cook treats, however, unlikely with the amount left in the jar. With a snow storm keeping them home, they find ways to make the oil last for eight days, paralleling the miracle of the oil that lit the menorah after Judah and the Maccabees rededicated their sacred temple. Spare use and reuse of the oil they have provides seven nights of lights and traditional foods. On the eighth, Mother creatively uses a piece of cheesecloth to wipe the jar's sides, recovering enough oil to coat the pan and make one apple pancake to share. The family gratefully acknowledges "the nicest gifts are the ones that surprise us the most." Penn's storytelling provides a real sense of the holiday's significance through joyful, yet simple celebration while Lyon's cheerful and energetic watercolors depict an "old country" environment. A nice addition to classic retellings. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933718163
  • Publisher: Tanglewood Press IN
  • Publication date: 10/25/2008
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 495,048
  • Age range: 3 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD880L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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