Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Hanukkah in Alaska read by Molly Ephraim

  1. a lesser Jewish festival, lasting eight days from the 25th day of Kislev (in December) and commemorating the rededication of the Temple in 165 BC by the Maccabees after its desecration by the Syrians. It is marked by the successive kindling of eight lights.



    Authored by Barbara Brown

    Illustrated by Stacey Schuett

    Ages 4-8

    Unwrapping illustrations...

    About the book according to...

    From School Library Journal

    PreS-Gr 1-Originally published as a story in A Hanukkah Treasury (Holt, 1998), this book is only nominally about the holiday. Rewritten and packaged as a picture book, it features a nameless young narrator who describes what it's like living in urban Alaska, where winters are short on daylight and long on snow, and where a hungry moose might choose to eat the trees in your backyard. Several pages into the book, readers learn that it is Hanukkah, but even pretending to be a spinning dreidel in the snow doesn't stop this girl from worrying about the moose, particularly when he gets too close to her swing. On the last night of the holiday, the girl's father takes her outside to behold the aurora borealis, "Our very own Hanukkah Festival of Lights." The glorious colors remind her of melting candles on the menorah, but then once again the girl is distracted by the moose, and finally has the clever idea of luring him out of the yard. Acrylic and gouache illustrations beautifully display the shad

    owy, rich palette of winter in Alaska, tempered by the glow of candles and the northern lights.-Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Libraryα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

    From Booklist

    Here’s a new twist on the celebration of Hanukkah—this story features a moose. The narrator, like author Brown, lives in Alaska, where a moose might be right around the corner. In fact, there’s one in the girl’s backyard, and she is not happy. Even Hanukkah hasn’t cheered her, because that voracious moose seems determined to tear down her swing. Not until her father takes her out to look at the amazing northern lights does she perk up and figure out just what kind of food will take the moose’s attention away from the swing—latkes! This is a splendid mix of information about the state, the holiday, moose, and the aurora borealis (an author’s note adds info). The acrylic-and-gouache art often glows, echoing the theme of light that threads the story. Preschool-Grade 2. --Ilene Cooper

    My take on the book...

    What a new and refreshing take on the wonderful Jewish celebration of Hanukkah.  The illustrations invite the reader into the Alaskan experience at this special time.  Kid's will relate because of the unexpected and unfamiliar moose animal that is causing havoc in a little girl's backyard and potentially to her beloved suspended tree swing.  I love the way the author weaves the  customs of the Hanukkah festivities into the story.  She mentions the dreidel, the lighting of the menorah and of course the must-have latkes!  The best part for me was when her dad invites her and her mom outside into the dark, frigid night to witness their own"Hanukkah Festival of Lights."  The auroral borealis makes a grand sweeping entrance across the sky with ribbons of colour that light up the pitch blackness of the night.  They dance and play dramatically exploding their colours in the heavenlies causing the family to be mesmerized and delighted with their bold showmanship.

    As a child my mom would every so often wake my sisters and me up, wrap us in warm quilts and take us out into our backyard to witness the northern lights dancing across the midnight sky.  Not only was there an explosion of colours before our eyes but we could actually hear them move.  It was enchanting and magical... unbelievable that such a spectacular light show was on display for us to enjoy...and in the middle of the night.  Those special memories will stay with me forever.  

    The clever little girl has a brilliant idea as to how to lure that pesky moose away from her home... and it works!  A lovely book with threads of information woven throughout concerning  the state of Alaska, Hanukkah celebrations, and the ways of everyday life explained in such a fun (and educational) way to an outsider.  I highly recommend this book.

    About the author...

    Barbara Brown has been a newspaper columnist, among other pursuits, before devoting herself to early learning. Hanukkah in Alaska is her first children’s book. She lives in Anchorage, Alaska.

    About the illustrator...

    Stacey Schuett has illustrated numerous books for children, including America Louise Borden, Night Lights by Steven Schnur, and Purple Mountain Majesties by Barbara Younger. She lives in Sebastopol, California. - See more at:

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