Children’s books are always a great way to celebrate Chanukah, and three new publications by Kar-Ben Publishing will make a great addition to your child’s library.
Kids ages four through seven will enjoy The Missing Letters: A Dreidel Story by Renee Londner ($7.99), where the carved dreidel letters come to life before they can be attached to their dreidels in the toymaker’s shop. The shins, nuns and heys conspire to hide the gimels – until they hear the toymaker relate the Jewish history behind the game of dreidel. They learn that during the time of the Maccabees, Jewish children played dreidel to hide their Torah studies from Roman soldiers.
After that the letters, depicted by illustrator Iryna Bodnaruk as cute, mischievous personalities, understand the relevance of the game. They rescue the gimels and ensure they take their rightful place on the dreidel. A fun, colourful book, The Missing Letters is a cute bedtime read that includes instructions on how to play the dreidel game and the rationale on why it’s played in the first place.
Way Too Many Latkes by Linda Glaser is another fun story for the same age group, this one set in the village of Chelm, where it appears, the Jewish villagers are not too brainy. Faigel, the best latke maker in the village, forgets her recipe and her dimwitted husband Shmuel volunteers to ask the rabbi, “the wisest man in Chelm.” Shmuel goes back and forth to the rabbi, a hungry man, who instructs she use the full quantity of potatoes, onions and eggs in her pantry. The result is an abundance of latkes – enough for the whole village. Way Too Many Latkes is full of little jokes and the writing is sharp and zippy. The expression ‘quick as a flash,’ for example, is written as “two snaps of a chicken’s beak” – and the illustrations by Serbian artist Aleksander Zolotic are deeply expressive, funny and set a very definite sense of place and tone.