Reviews for Daddy Christmas & Hanukkah Mama
Booklist Reviews 2012 November #2
At Sadie's house, she has "a mix of two traditions," and so begins the description of what life is like with Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama. Christmas trees and candles, angels and menorahs all come into play. Songs about dreidels and a silent night are sung. Ironically, it's Daddy Christmas who knows how to make the latkes and kugel dressing for the turkey. Then the relatives come and everyone tells stories of their own traditions. The wonderful artwork has a definite Maira Kalman look and feel. Using bits of collage for everything from the tree branches to the steam coming from the latkes, the inventive pictures not only help spring the story from the occasionally unremarkable text but they also perfectly capture the love that everyone in this mixed household shares. Religion often leads to arguments more than affection, so this is a book that could (and perhaps should) provoke discussion. It will certainly be a boon for families that need a road map to help them navigate the holidays. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
Sadie describes her family s December holiday traditions. Daddy Christmas makes latkes for Santa while Hanukkah Mama hangs stockings by the fireplace, and neighborhood caroling involves both Christmas and Hanukkah songs. Upbeat gouache, colored-pencil, and collage illustrations give the illusion of texture and fabric, adding a handmade quality reminiscent of a scrapbook--appropriate for a story about stitching together cultural influences.
Kirkus Reviews 2012 September #1
A little girl celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah at her house, combining holiday traditions from the two sides of her family. Narrator Sadie has a cheerful attitude about her family's diverse heritage, matched by the vibrant colors and creative composition of the illustrations, which are done in mixed-media collage incorporating bits of fabric and paper. There is no actual mention of the two religions, and the holiday celebrations are treated more as cultural events rather than religious ones. Sadie and her parents decorate the house for both holidays, including a tree with gelt scattered underneath and candy canes hanging from the menorah on the mantelpiece. A special dinner with the extended family for the last night of Hanukkah includes references to the relevant stories of the miracle of the oil and "the animals in the manger, waiting for the baby to be born" (a slight misstep, of course; the animals were in the stable, waiting for the baby, who was placed in the manger). A recipe for cranberry kugel dressing is included, along with a timeline of most major Jewish, Christian and secular holidays throughout the year. An appealing story that will interest many families. (Picture book/religion.4-7) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 September #2
"I am a mix of two traditions," begins Sadie's story of her family's way of blending religious traditions. Like the image of the dining table surrounded by a hodge-podge of mismatched chairs, each picture underscores the theme of blending elements to create an exciting whole ("How lucky am I?"). Alko's (B Is for Brooklyn) prose tends to be blandly declarative ("Mountains of gifts are placed under the tree for eight nights of Hanukkah, plus Christmas Day"), but her illustrations grab attention, an exuberant combination of colors, textures, and images created by gouache, collage, and colored pencil. Ages 5-8. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Sept.) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC
School Library Journal Reviews 2012 October
K-Gr 4--Sadie is one lucky kid-her Christian father and Jewish mother create a holiday mash-up with elements of both Christmas and Hanukkah tossed about with gay abandon. They scatter gelt under the tree and have a menorah hung with candy canes, Santa's treat is potato latkes, and they "carol to the neighbors about Maccabees and the manger." The extended families willingly participate in the combined holiday feast and listen to tales from both traditions. The gouache, collage, and colored-pencil illustrations are a lively addition to the cheerful holiday chaos. Alko includes a recipe for cranberry kugel dressing. This is not in any way a typical holiday celebration, but it certainly is a joyful one. Perfect for a multicultural holiday program.--Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library [Page 78]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.