Reviews for Story of Hanukkah


Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
Adler's straightforward, accessible retelling of the Hanukkah story details King Antiochus IV's coronation, his oppression of Jews, and triumphant revolt by the Maccabees. The narrative concludes with modern-day observances of events; a recipe for latkes and instructions for the dreidel game are appended. Acrylic illustrations richly accented with deep blues and luminous golds recall ancient friezes and ceramics. Copyright 2012 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2011 #6
Adler's straightforward, accessible retelling of the Hanukkah story begins in Judea at the temple "on top of a mountain and called the House of God...inside was a ner tamid, a light that always burned." The violence against and oppression of Jews following King Antiochus IV's coronation is detailed, along with triumphant revolt by the Maccabees. The narrative concludes with rebuilding of the temple -- and the great miracle that happened there -- along with modern-day observances of events; a recipe for latkes and instructions for the dreidel game are appended. Acrylic illustrations richly accented with deep blues and luminous golds recall ancient friezes and ceramics. elissa gershowitz Copyright 2011 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2011 September #1

The story of war, destruction and renewal in ancient Judea, fueled by the Jewish determination to freely maintain a belief in one God.

Adler recounts the plight of the small Jewish army led against Greek King Antiochus IV first by the old priest Mattathias and then by his son Judah in a direct, active voice. Throughout, explanations are provided for the cause of the conflict, the meaning of the word Maccabee and why the Jewish army was known by that name and legend of the fabled ner tamid, or eternal light, that remained lit for eight days with only one day's supply of oil. Diminutive, often detailed Biblical scenes in acrylic paints complement the plainspoken narrative. A final, contemporary two-page view of menorah lighting and dreidel play appears along with a basic description of how the holiday is celebrated today with songs, fried potato pancakes, jelly doughnuts and an explanation of the dreidel's Hebrew acronym for the sentence, "A great miracle happened there." There is only brief mention of the sometime modern-day practice of giving gifts.

This very traditional chronicle remains true to the legendary Judaic story, making it an excellent introduction to the holiday. (recipe, game directions) (Picture book/religion. 6-8) 

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 July #3

The events commemorated in the holiday of Hanukkah are retold simply for young ears by prolific children's author Adler (Cam Jansen books) in a religious and historical lesson. Weber's full-spread color illustrations, with an emphasis on traditional holiday blue, convey the epic scope of the story: the victorious rebellion of the Maccabees against the forces of the occupying Seleucid Empire, the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem, and the miracle of oil that burned for eight days. The narration ends with an explanation of the contemporary celebration of the holiday by families, accompanied by framed, family photo-like illustrations. A recipe from Weber for latkes that children can make and instructions for playing dreidel, the traditional holiday game, are bonuses in this family-oriented book designed to impart traditions. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 October

K-Gr 2--A straightforward retelling that emphasizes the historical origins of the holiday. Recounting the hard-fought battle of a small band of Jews (known as Maccabees) against the armies of King Antiochus IV, as well as the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem following its desecration, the book places the celebration in a context that is less about miracles (one day's oil lasting for eight days), and more about the Jews' fight for religious freedom. The simple, accessible text is enhanced by acrylic spreads in rich, warm colors that bring both solemnity and excitement to the story. With so much holiday hoopla focusing on less historical, more celebratory aspects of Hanukkah, it is good to have a book that tells it like it was. A latke recipe and directions for playing dreidel are included. A welcome addition.--Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library

[Page 90]. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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