Jewish Values: Hanukkah Moon

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Number of Pages: 
32 p.
The author of Snow in Jerusalem (Albert Whitman, 2001) has written a pleasant and off-beat Hanukkah story with a slight Sephardic flavor. Isobel’s Aunt Luisa is from Mexico and so, when the little girl goes to stay with her for several days during Hanukkah, she is introduced to some Spanish phrases and customs, such as a banner with “Feliz Januca” (Happy Hanukkah) displayed over the fireplace and a huge piñata shaped like a dreydl. Because Aunt Luisa is an artist and photographer, she has made many of her Hanukkah decorations herself, decorating them with figures of the animals and birds that visit her backyard. Isobel is fascinated by Hanukkah at Aunt Luisa’s and her first person narrative captures a child’s curiosity about an aunt who celebrates Hanukkah in some distinctive ways. Isobel’s magical visit ends with a party to celebrate Rosh Hodesh, the New Moon that occurs during Hanukkah. Aunt Luisa and her guests—all women—explain to Luisa the significance of Rosh Hodesh to women while outside in the dark, two deer and a raccoon feast on the food that Aunt Luisa has left for them. The full-page, full-bleed illustrations that accompany the story are charming, with fluid lines, piquantly stylized faces and figures, and glowing colors. They are full partners with a text that combines three subjects—Hanukkah, Rosh Hodesh, and kindness to animals—in a childlike and natural way.
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