Maccabee!: The Story of Hanukkah
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2012
I ordered this book for my five year old daughter who is in kindergarten. She learned about Hanukah at school and had many more questions that I did not have the adult answers to, never mind the kid version of the answer to. I looked for kids' books on Hanukah and to be honest, I choose this one because it had the most awesome cover. Now, I consider myself a student of history, and have a degree to collaborate that. I also am a "not ignorant" person of the bible, or at least I thought that of myself, but the more I learn about the bible and Jews and Christians, I am coming to find out, I am very ignorant. This book is great. It tells the story of Maccabee, it does it with some rhyming as my daughter pointed about on about page three. It tells a great story. Similar the person who gave this book 3 stars, I also have some questions. But more importantly my daughter had one major question. When we got to the first page that had a menorah on it, she quickly pointed out they must have drawn it wrong. Daddy, it is supposed to have 9, it only has 7! Then a few pages later, in modern times, there is one with 9, so all is at least well. I have to find out, figure out why it went from 7 to 9. What I really love about this book is it underlying story about people fighting for what is right, or what they believe is right. Over all, wonderful book. If you are Jewish, this will be a great for your kids because you will be able to add in more info. If you are not Jewish, do a little homework first, because kids are going to ask questions.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2010
"Maccabee! The Story of Hanukkah" is an illustrated child's story of the events that led to the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, told in jaunty verse. Simon's son Judah, nicknamed "Maccabee" because he organized Jewish resistance to religious intolerance, was like a hammer of God to the Jews fighting against King Antiochus and his enforced oppressions. Although Jerusalem suffered great damage during this war, Judah was determined that the Jews would clean up the desecrated temple and restore a holy set of lights called a menorah. Although the Jews were certain they did not have enough oil to keep the menorah lit, they used what oil they had in faith and hope. The miracle occurred over eight days of light, while the menorah kept burning long past the time they thought it would. Although this all happened very long ago, but the message remains for today: "Sometimes it only takes a few, Who know what's right, and do it too." "Maccabee!" is the perfect Hanukkah gift for children age 5 and up.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2011
I bought this for my kids (ages 6 and 5) and they loved the story. The rhymes are well done and the story is pretty accurate. I took the book to my son's 1st grade class to teach about Hannukah. The bright colors and engaging illustrations were a big hit among his classmates, as was the story itself.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2012
This book was the perfect book to introduce our three and almost-two year-old sons to the story behind Hanukkah. It was a very simply told story, the pictures were bright and winsome, the boys really enjoyed the metre of the poem, and it reminded me of some of my favorite books from my own childhood. It was just the right speed and length to tell an interesting story yet end before our kids lost interest. The pages move quickly and the pictures grab a little boy's attention.
We have read it several times already and have had it only five days. I can see us reading this book several times every hanukkah until our sons are preteens and this book has whet their appetites for a more in depth telling of the story (if that doesn't happen before then).
This book does not discuss hanukkah traditions, so if you want a discussion of menorahs, dreidels, and latkes, go to another book. This does, however, tell the story of the Maccabees and the miracle of the oil in a fun and inspiring way. Would definitely recommend this book to anyone wanting to teach their young children about the Maccabees :)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2013
This is a great book with great pictures. My son is 3.5 & loves this book. It tells the basic story of Channukah.
I read in other reviews re the menorah in the beginning of the story being different than the one at the end of the story. The reason for this: the menorah in the beginning of the book has 7 candle slots, as used at temple mount in Jerusalem back in those times. This illustration is a clear depiction of what was really used. The modern day menorahs-the ones we use for celebrating Chanukkah have 9 spots for candles...this is because the miracle of oil burning for 8 days. 8 candles representing the the 8 days & the 9th (in the center) is the shemash....the candle we use to light all the other candles with.
I recommend this book to help explain the story of Chanukah to little ones.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2012
This story tells the tale of the miracle of Hanukkah very well. The theme that comes across in the book is that it is important to do what it right even if no one else does like the Maccabees.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2013
Although this book does allude to the battle between the Macabees and Greeks, I believe it is done in a gentle, age-appropriate way. Although the book is listed for older children 5+ we read it to our 4 year old and he was able to grasp it and pay attention. He then pretended to be Judah Macabee for the next few days and I think it was a great book to help him relate to the holiday and begin to understand the significance and value of the holiday- the miracles and values of the holiday.
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on December 15, 2014
I have been searching for over 5 years unsuccessfully for the perfect Hanukkah book for my daughter. For me, Hanukkah is about the story of the Maccabees, a group of people who stood up and fought for their rights. (Jews have been fighting for thousands of years for their right to exist as they've been forced into diaspora and concentration camps.) But all the books I found were about the traditions like bubbe's latkes or lighting the menorah and not the story behind it. I finally found the book I have been searching for. It is perfect and I plan to read it tomorrow to my daughter's 1st grade class. I think it expresses the true meaning of Hanukkah: "Sometimes it only takes a few, Who know what's right, and do it too."
-johanna
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VINE VOICEon March 17, 2015
Tilda Balsley tells a poetic version of the story of Hanukkah for young children. She is able to capture both the complexity of the story and its essence. The amazing illustrations by David Harrington will keep children engaged. Not only does the artwork amplify Balsley's story, but they are loaded with fun elements like a boozy statue, an alarmed owl looking directly at the reader, or fierce war elephants.

Maccabee! is a wonderful book for introducing young readers (or pre-readers) to the Hanukkah stories. It is done so well, that adults will enjoy it as well.
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on December 26, 2014
As a preschool teacher and mother there are some books I love to read and others I cannot wait to send back to the library. As I believe children should study all religion, not just avoid the topic all together, I have this book in my repertoire. The rhyming and pacing is great and little ones are fully engaged. A great introduction to the story of Hanukah.
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