Runaway Dreidel!

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When a dreidel that takes off through a boy’s living room, the boy—and readers—are taken on a runaway adventure through city streets and along country roads, where modern times and history blend together in magical ways. This celebration of one of Chanukah’s most fun traditions—spinning the dreidel—is sure to be a welcome addition to this healthy holiday category.

In this rhyming tale in the style of "The Night before Christmas," a family's preparations for Chanukah...

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Overview

When a dreidel that takes off through a boy’s living room, the boy—and readers—are taken on a runaway adventure through city streets and along country roads, where modern times and history blend together in magical ways. This celebration of one of Chanukah’s most fun traditions—spinning the dreidel—is sure to be a welcome addition to this healthy holiday category.

In this rhyming tale in the style of "The Night before Christmas," a family's preparations for Chanukah are disrupted by a wildly spinning dreidel.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Brooker’s madly tilting, fanciful oil and cut-paper collage illustrations are wonderfully textured and full of fabulous details . . . A lively Chanukah romp that can be enjoyed by every denomination.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Told in rhyming couplets, the tale holds storytelling appeal in both text and humorous illustrations. Chagall-like oil paintings and cut-paper art lend an Old World feel to the story.”—School Library Journal

“Everything in these illustrations is affectionately skewed, from the slightly oversize heads of the characters to the Brooklynesque street scenes occasioned by the boy narrator’s pursuit of the toy. The dynamically dizzy world happily challenges readers to stay on their toes.”—Publishers Weekly

“A wild, evocative adventure.”—Booklist

“Readers will laugh in delight . . . this book is pure fun.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

Publishers Weekly
Set to the cadences of "The Night Before Christmas" ("Twas the first night of Chanukah and on the fifth floor/ There was holiday bustling and bustling galore"), Newman's (Matzo Ball Moon) verse narrative describes a runaway dreidel that finds a home in the night sky. The chief virtue of this forgettable tale may be its having occasioned more of Brooker's (Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street) idiosyncratic mixed-media art, oil paintings into which she seamlessly applies cut-paper photo elements. Everything in these illustrations is affectionately skewed, from the slightly oversize heads of the characters to the Brooklynesque street scenes occasioned by the boy narrator's pursuit of the toy. The dynamically dizzy world happily challenges readers to stay on their toes. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-This rollicking rhyme begins, "'Twas the first night of Chanukah and on the fifth floor,/There was holiday hustling and bustling galore." In the midst of it all, a dreidel escapes from a boy's hands and precipitates a wild chase out onto the street, into the country, and over the ocean, ultimately spinning into outer space. This humorous picture book introduces children to aspects of the holiday by using terms such as latkes, menorah, and the letters on the dreidel. Told in rhyming couplets, the tale holds storytelling appeal in both text and humorous illustrations. Chagall-like oil paintings and cut-paper art lend an Old World feel to the story. Although the author gives a nod to "The Night before Christmas" in the first and last lines, this story is really more akin to "The Gingerbread Boy."-I. A. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Readers certainly don’t need to be familiar with the poem "The Night Before Christmas" or with the alternative lyrics to "On Top of Old Smokey" (about the runaway meatball) to appreciate the humor of this Chanukah offering, but it wouldn’t hurt. Owing its rhythm to the former and its plot to the latter, this hilarious take-off has a delicious flavor all its own. ’Twas the first night of Chanukah when a boy’s shiny new dreidel makes a run for it. "It spun past a shoe store and past a boutique / It spun past two delis, one kosher, one Greek." When the dreidel leaves Brooklyn and heads for the hills, the scenery begins to look more like a Russian shtetl than anywhere in North America. Brooker’s (Isabella Abnormella and the Very, Very Finicky Queen of Trouble, 2000, etc.) madly tilting, fanciful oil and cut-paper collage illustrations are wonderfully textured and full of fabulous details: buttons that look like Greek coins, shirts and dresses cut from wallpaper, and a gift for grandpa in a Tiffany’s signature box. When the dreidel decides to go into orbit--"It sparkled and glittered and twinkled and shone / Like a jewel in the crown of a queen on a throne"--everyone goes home to celebrate the holiday. Naturally, Newman (Dogs, Dogs, Dogs, p. 738, etc.) ends with a nod to that well-known Christmas poem. A lively Chanukah romp that can be enjoyed by every denomination. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312371425
  • Publisher: Square Fish
  • Publication date: 10/2/2007
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Lesléa Newman is a poet, an animal lover, and the author of Hachiko Waits, Cats, Cats, Cats!, Daddy’s Song, and other picture books. Her awards include the Parents' Choice Silver Medal and a Poetry Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She has a B.S. in education from the University of Vermont and a Certificate of Poetics from Naropa Institute, where she was Allen Ginsburg’s apprentice. She has worked as a preschool teacher, secretary, waitress, freelance reporter, and sales clerk, and now teaches writing for children and young adults at Spalding University. She lives in western Massachusetts.

 

Kyrsten Brooker has illustrated several acclaimed picture books for children. Illustrating this Chanukah story allowed her to remember her old Brooklyn neighborhood with its babkas, latkes, challahs, and horas. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

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