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The Count's Hanukkah Countdown (Shalom Sesame)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2013
Format: Paperback
Children’s books are items I rarely purchase or review given that our daughter is 12 and has long passed the time when she would be interested in a Sesame Street book. With that said, there are some children’s books worth picking up from time to time if anything, to see what type of information the publisher’s are promoting. At a recent book fair at our daughter’s school, we say The Count’s Hanukkah Countdown by Tilda Balsley and Ellen Fischer on one of the book tables and could not resist buying it, especially since it was only $2.50.

We have family members that celebrate Hanukkah so we know a bit about this important Jewish celebration. Seeing a book that provides children a through yet simple discussion of what this holiday is all about and why it is celebrated was very interesting, especially a book that utilizes the well known characters from Sesame Street, in this instance The Count. Much of this holiday centers around the number 8 and it is that theme which the authors of this book center their approach, using this number throughout the book to outline to the children who will read this book why that number is so important. Starting with a list of 8 ingredients, the lovable Sesame Street character Grover hands a shopping list to The Count, a list containing the necessary elements to make latkes, a potato like food made during Hanukkah.

The authors also do a wonderful job explaining the meaning behind the lighting of the menorah to include the use of the shamash candle to light each of the 8 candles used during the celebration of Hanukkah, one candle for each night of the holiday period. There is also a brief yet helpful overview of the history behind how Hanukkah came to be established, specifically the story of the Macabee’s revolt against Antiochus. The miracle of the oil lasting for 8 days and 8 nights is also discussed noting “Hanukkah celebrates the victory of Judah’s small army and the miracle of the oil.” The Count also plays with the dreidel and chocolate coins which are also important elements of the traditional Hanukkah celebration.

The Count’s Hanukkah Countdown is an excellent little book that aptly explains the reason behind this important Jewish holiday. It is certainly a children’s book, however, given that most are likely unfamiliar with the background of this holiday, most adults would certainly do well to read through this book. While Hanukkah is not a holiday that most believers take part in, understanding the miracle God provided on behalf of the people of Israel in this time in history is definitely a salient reminder that God is faithful and those who are committed to Him will find Him an ever present help in time of trouble or distress. The time of Hanukkah is a remembrance of that fact and this book does a great job of reminding us of that important truth in a simple yet profound way. I was not surprised to see the absence of God’s name in this book given it is a rather secular look at Hanukkah. Those who might purchase this book will need to remind their children or themselves that this holiday is about God’s sovereignty as demonstrated in the story of the Maccabee’s and the provision of oil for the temple. If anything, it will spark needed discussion between parents and children on matters of biblical history, theology, and the simple yet profound truth that God is always there for His people.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
The "Sesame Street" characters are friends with people from Israel and help them get ready for Hanukkah. As they prepare, numbers are used to teach children how to count, for instance, with the amount of candles to be used with the menorah and the number of gifts being passed out. The characters even come up with what they think is the perfect Hanukkah number.

I loved the repetition of numbers throughout the book and how to connect a certain number to Hanukkah, since that number is used a lot with Hanukkah. I don't normally like reviewing books with spooky-type characters, such as the Count but I can see why he was chosen in a Sesame Street book about counting. The book is full of a lot of colorful pictures that are very helpful in bringing the story alive.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a free copy of this book from Kar-Ben Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This was the perfect gift for both my grandsons age 7months who loved the bright colors and 18 month who is beginning to count, loves Sesame Street characters.. In addition to all that, they will learn Jewish tradition in a very fun way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I bought two of these for three-year olds, and I think I should have waited until they were four. It' a great book and they liked it even if the couldn't get most of the educational value.
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on January 24, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This like some other sesame street books is very cute and well thought out, but is a bit too text heavy for my two year old. With that said it is a nice book and teaches children about Hanukkah.
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on December 22, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
My 3 yr old loved the book. Especially her father talking like the count. "8 is a great number !"
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on December 17, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I think this would be a great book to introduce kids to Hanukkah, but the conversion to Kindle was awful - only every other page was displayed, with no way to adjust the display. I bought this to introduce my daughter to Hanukkah traditions in advance of celebrating the holiday for the first time with visiting family, but was disappointed that most of the book was unreadable.
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on December 22, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Colorful, kid friendly, made to be understood easily. The Count helps children count the number of candles, friendly sweet! Worth the purchase.
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on July 14, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
My 2 year old wants me to read this year round. Given I some times make up my own story to it as there is a bit too must text for his level.
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on April 2, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who would like to help instill some religion and culture into your little ones.
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