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Jodie's Hanukkah Dig

Jodie's Hanukkah Dig

by Anna Levine, Ksenia Topaz (Illustrator)

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A young girl and her father join an archaeological dig at Modi-in, the home of the Maccabees, when Jodie makes an amazing discovery.


A young girl and her father join an archaeological dig at Modi-in, the home of the Maccabees, when Jodie makes an amazing discovery.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ali Fell
Jodie is a young Israeli girl who wants to become an archeologist just like her dad. Her father finally responds positively to her repeated pleas to be allowed to do some archeological work. At his dig, it is discovered that Jodie has a unique talent needed by the field scientists. She is given an opportunity to actively participate in archeological research and, in the process, learns to overcome some of her fears. She discovers an artifact at the dig left by humble Jewish revolutionaries, the Maccabees, who realized military success against the powerful Greeks during the fourth century BC. Young Jodie's realization of her own strength takes place in Israel during the Hanukkah holidays, which celebrate the Maccabees. The book communicates well, through both words and illustrations, the unique feel of Israeli culture. A reader who picks up this book has an opportunity to learn something about Israelis, about archeology, about the wisdom of persevering in efforts to develop one's interests and talents, and about how to contain unpleasant emotions in order to accomplish a desired purpose. It provides reinforcement for dreamers who want to translate those dreams into real life. And the adorable cocker spaniel that follows Jodie everywhere is a heart-warmer. While five year olds cannot read this book without adult help, children who have had more reading practice will probably find this an easy and inspiring read. Reviewer: Ali Fell
School Library Journal

Gr 1-3

An Israeli girl wants to become an archaeologist like her father and has the opportunity to assist at a dig where Judah Maccabee fought against the Syrians. Braving darkness, spiders, and her own fear, Jodie volunteers to be lowered into a small underground cave where she discovers a literal piece of the past. However, aside from a brief reference to the brave leader featured in the Hanukkah story, there is nothing in this book to suggest that it belongs on the holiday shelf. It presupposes knowledge of Israel's archaeological significance and the origins of Hanukkah by focusing solely on the facts of the dig. Watercolor illustrations give a good sense of the Israeli landscape both above and below ground. A reasonable choice for career day, but not for general holiday collections.-Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library

Kirkus Reviews
Jodie wants to be an archeologist; she's eager to uncover treasures of ancient lands, just like her dad. Fortunately, she lives in Israel and is thrilled when her father agrees to take her on a dig to Modi'in, the site where Judah Maccabee fought the Syrians. Excited to help, Jodie convinces her father and the site's head professor to let her scout down a small hole. Carefully lowered within a bucket, she announces a passageway of caves and grabs a possible arrowhead before being lifted back up. Topaz's watercolors delineate a freckle-faced little girl whose agility and curiosity parallel the Maccabeean stamina in their struggle. Jodie's find could possibly be from the time of the Maccabees, as she explains, who "must have been nimble enough to crawl through the tiny passageways, brave enough not to be afraid of the dark, and strong enough to fight off all the people who thought they were too little to win." Levine provides an intriguing alternative to conventional retellings of the Hanukkah tale, juxtaposing archeology's importance in understanding history against the ancient tradition. (Picture book. 5-8)

Product Details

Kar-Ben Publishing
Publication date:
Kar-Ben Hanukkah Series
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Anna Levine is the author of Running on Eggs, a young adult novel which takes place in Israel and reflects her experience of living on a kibbutz in northern Israel on the border with Lebanon. Her short stories, poems and non-fiction have appeared in Spider, Cricket and Cicada magazines. She lives with her husband and two children in a suburb of Jerusalem.

Ksenia Topaz was born in Moscow and moved to Israel in 1991. A graduate of Moscow's Strogonoff Academy of Art, Ksenia comes from a family of artists and sculptors. She has illustrated more than 20 children's books.

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