The Miracle of Hanukkah

Overview

In the year 165 B.C.E., Mattathias and the Maccabees defeated the Syrians and reclaimed their Great Temple in Jerusalem. Though they planned an eight-day celebration to rededicate the Temple, they had lamp oil for only one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days. Every year Jews around the world celebrate this miracle at Hanukkah. Now internationally acclaimed artist and graphic designer Seymour Chwast retells the story of Hanukkah in an innovative format in which pages gradually increase in size. This ...

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Overview

In the year 165 B.C.E., Mattathias and the Maccabees defeated the Syrians and reclaimed their Great Temple in Jerusalem. Though they planned an eight-day celebration to rededicate the Temple, they had lamp oil for only one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days. Every year Jews around the world celebrate this miracle at Hanukkah. Now internationally acclaimed artist and graphic designer Seymour Chwast retells the story of Hanukkah in an innovative format in which pages gradually increase in size. This Hanukkah book is sure to become a family favorite.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Chwast (The Left-Handed Designer) opts for a "just the facts" approach to the Hanukkah story-but since he's also one of the leading lights of modern graphic design, the end result adds up to something much more. A stepped-page format literally builds the story's momentum, taking readers from oppression of the Jewish people by the Syrian king to the triumph of the Maccabees. The pages return to full size to chronicle the rededication of the Temple and the miracle of the menorah that burned for eight days despite only a one-day supply of oil ("This miracle as great as the miraculous victory of the Maccabees"). The combination of Chwast's concise text and visual economy may seem to some readers to be too restrained for such a joyous celebration. But the elegance shines through, as does the enduring message of the story. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Debbie Levy
In spare language, Chwast tells the story of how a band of Jews led by the Maccabees resisted King Antiochus IV's efforts to replace their religion with idol worship 2,100 years ago. The text includes small but telling facts that will help children better understand Hanukkah's significance: for example, that the Jerusalem temple was the only Jewish temple in the world at the time (this was the era before synagogues), and that Antiochus required statues of the Greek god Zeus to be erected in the temple. What makes this book different from other simple retellings of the Hannukah story is Chwast's stepped-page format, in which beginning pages of the book are smaller than subsequent pages. This format reveals portions of multiple pages at once. Artwork on the overlapping pages lines up in a neat and precise way, which lends a unifying, but also rather monotonous and static, feel to the book.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-This straightforward retelling of the Hanukkah story is textually unremarkable yet interesting for its "stepped-page" format, in which a tableau of the temple in ancient Jerusalem is overlaid with a succession of pages that begin small and increase in size with each page turn. The simple graphic images are flat and almost comiclike, utilizing a lively pastel palette. While the format is unusual, the ending feels rather abrupt. Still, young readers will enjoy turning the pages and watching as more and more of the story is revealed.-Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Earthy, muted watercolor drawings with blue outlined cartoon-styled characters show the Hanukkah story, from the looting and destruction of the Temple to the Maccabees' victory to the eight day miraculous burning of one day's supply of oil to the prime significance of the word "Hanukkah." The simple definition as the dedication of the temple is broadened to a wider representation of one's dedication to the Jewish faith. More accurately, the word Hanukkah refers to the re-dedication of the Temple. Graphic artist, Chwast uses a stepped-page format for the first half, highlighting the destruction during the struggle with each scene growing larger and closer in perspective. Endpapers of colorful dreidels round out the less-than-unique version of the story. Additional fare for the holiday shelf. (Picture book. 4-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781609051389
  • Publisher: Blue Apple Books
  • Publication date: 7/1/2011
  • Pages: 28
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Seymour Chwast is the director of the Push Pin Group, a design firm that he cofounded in 1954. His graphic design and illustrations are well-known internationally, and he has written and/or illustrated more than thirty books for children. He lives in New York City with his wife, Paula Scher.

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