Of the many joys of Hanukkah, the joining of family and friends is perhaps the greatest. This is why young Rachel and her family are especially eager to have their dear elderly neighbor Mrs. Greenberg over for Hanukkah dinner. But every year their neighbor refuses, not wanting to be a bother. One year, on the last night of Hanukkah, Rachel's mother discovers that she has run out of potatoes for the latkes. Maybe Mrs. Greenberg will come for dinner if we borrow some of her potatoes, suggests Rachel. And off she runs into the snowy purple night to see if her plan will work. Author Linda Glaser (Rosie's Birthday Rat
) has a keen understanding of a child's perspective: "Mrs. Greenberg's house was always clean and tidy, like its face was just scrubbed and its blouse was tucked in, while Rachel's house always looked like it was still in its pajamas and needed to brush its hair yet." Rachel succeeds in procuring the potatoes, but it takes a "stubborn-as-an-ox" girl to get a "stubborn-as-an-ox" woman to share their Hanukkah dinner. Rachel's ingenious eventual entrapment of Mrs. Greenberg--along with her rosy red cheeks and unruly orange braids--make her an excellent ambassador for a story about the heart of Hanukkah. Lively, cartoonish illustrations by Nancy Cote enliven this already vivacious holiday tale. (Ages 4 and older) --Gail Hudson
From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3. Rachel and her mother are busy preparing for their Hanukkah celebration. When eight more people are suddenly added to the guest list and there are no more potatoes in the cellar, Rachel goes next door to borrow some from Mrs. Greenberg. Every year the elderly woman is invited to join the girl's family, but she always refuses. This year, she is delighted to lend the potatoes, and then some eggs, and finally chairs?until Rachel has an idea. If Mrs. Greenberg won't come to them for Hanukkah, they'll just have to borrow her house and take the celebration to her. The lively watercolor illustrations add to the joy as smiling family members, with slightly elongated, constantly waving arms and long legs, fill the pages with motion and energy. Rachel's wide-eyed, pig-tailed innocence belies her understanding that Mrs. Greenberg is a lonely neighbor who still needs someone with whom to share the holiday. A lovely message, wrapped in a lighthearted story.
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