(Published by Cartwheel Books, Scholastic Inc., 2001. Out of print.)
Over 170,000 copies sold (original, paperback, and board book editions)!
Noteworthy graphics and clever use of design elements jazz up a small paper-over-board book that counts up from one through the eight nights of the holiday. Newcomer Sper introduces familiar and less obvious aspects of Hanukkah (e.g., three stands for the elephants, which, as an endnote explains, were used by the attacking Syrian-Greeks). Die-cuts show the correct number of candles; on each spread, made all the more pleasing by strong, clear color combinations and color-coded fonts. Hebrew and Yiddish words, transliterations and pronunciations. Ages 2–5.
Association of Jewish Librarians Newsletter
One of the most original Hanukkah books to come along in a while, this is very well conceived and designed. The format is important: intensely bright colors upon black backgrounds, die-cuts in the shape of candles, Hanukkah symbols that correspond in number to the number of candles on each page, color coding to indicate the gender of the Hebrew words, the gutteral sound, the stressed syllables, and the language of the word. The spelling of numbers one to eight plus phrases that indicate the Haunkkah symbol, such as “three elephants,” are given in English, Hebrew, and Yiddish with transliteration. Following the counting pages is a brief story of Hanukkah, emphasizing the symbols that have been used throughout the book. This is all splendidly packaged and will appeal to a wide age range: four year olds who are practicing counting, third graders beginning to learn Hebrew, even fourth and fifth graders with a modicum of exposure to Yiddish culture and language. Highly recommended! —Linda R. Silver, Jewish Education Center, Cleveland, OH
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-In this visually appealing book, children are invited to count menorah candles and other holiday objects in English, Hebrew, and Yiddish. The three languages are printed in different colors, and the Hebrew and Yiddish are shown both phonetically and in the Hebrew alphabet. A pronunciation guide and a brief explanation of the Hanukkah story are included. The strength of the book is its use of simple, bold illustrations and colored fonts against solid backgrounds. The pages are die cut to illustrate the candles, which clutters up the otherwise simple design. A good choice for large collections. —E. M.