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One Candle Paperback – September 21, 2004


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One Candle + The Harmonica + Terrible Things: An Allegory of the Holocaust
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 3
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (September 21, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060085606
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060085605
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #357,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

On the first night of Hanukkah every year, Grandma recites her experience as a 12-year-old in Buchenwald, when she risked her life to steal a potato and margarine to improvise one Hanukkah light. The text feels somewhat forced until Grandma starts speaking, and then the audience will be gripped. Popp's (Sister Anne's Hands) uncannily lifelike, sympathetic group portraits, bathed in soft lighting that visually bridges them to sepia-toned flashback scenes of Buchenwald, evoke the abiding tenderness of family rituals respectfully observed. It would be a pity for the mistake on the cover (the candle is on the wrong side of the menorah here and several times in the interior art) to deter readers from the unusually moving story within. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-4-Another finely tuned intimate, first-person narrative from Bunting, who delivers a moving family history framed within the celebration of Hanukkah. Grandma ritualistically makes a candle from a hollowed-out potato in memory of the time she and Great-Aunt Rose spent in Buchenwald. The repeated story unites the family as they celebrate the present and remember the past. Exceptionally handsome illustrations lend a realistic quality to the memorable text: sepia tones mute and distance the concentration-camp flashbacks; softly colored tones define contemporary scenes.-S. P.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Eve Bunting has written more than 200 books for children, many of which can be found in libraries around the world. Her other Clarion titles for very young readers include My Big Boy Bed, which was also illustrated by Maggie Smith, and Little Bear's Little Boat, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. She lives in Pasadena, California.

Customer Reviews

The book does an excellent job of touching on age appropriate information regarding the Holocaust.
Sandra
I was particularly struck by the incredible faces in this picture book -- they are so alive with individuality, authenticity, and emotion.
Marybeth Lorbiecki
So much so that every Hanukkah we always fix a potato candle on the first night ....just to remember.
Shulamit

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Susan Shedd on November 29, 2002
Format: Library Binding
I agree with other reviewers that it is a pity that Ms. Bunting's editors didn't assign someone knowledgeable to review the text and help the artist with moon phases and menorah placement. On the other hand, many of the Jews who love and celebrate Hanukkah do not practice strictly in accordance with dietary and other religious laws.
What makes this book special is showing a festive, cheerful holiday having such significance in the practice of one's religion and being one's true self that Grandma, as a young girl, risked death to observe it. Scholars have often been somewat dismissive of Hanukkah, regarding it as a minor holiday, and yet it is a favorite for many people. This story helps us understand why. There is a message of hope, since Grandma has survived and is surrounded by a loving family, but the deft characterization of Great-Aunt Rose shows that suffering a horror like the Holocaust stays with one for life.
As a school librarian, I'm finding this a powerful introduction to the Holocaust, as well as to Hanukkah. The children are baffled and horrified at the idea that anyone would be imprisoned, starved, killed, "just because..." - and even more aghast when we point out that the hate and killings continue now with Jews AND other ethnic/religious groups. The narrator's musings at the end of the story as to why Grandma wants to remember such a painful time in her life allow us to look at what we have to remember to keep it from happening again.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Marybeth Lorbiecki on November 25, 2002
Format: Library Binding
This story shows how each family can add its own memories to a traditional celebration, blending in things that make it more meaningful. In this incredible Hanukkah story, we see a layer of family history presented as part of the larger faith drama. This is emphasized in the art as well -- powerful duotone-like drawings are integrated with the full-color illustrations, giving the feeling of the past coming to the table with the stories told. I was particularly struck by the incredible faces in this picture book -- they are so alive with individuality, authenticity, and emotion.
One customer reviewer has commented on the brisket and sour cream as being "nontraditional." I find this as a plus, personally. The traditional applesauce IS there (this reviewer must not have noticed), yet the family is not presented as a stereotyped cliche -- they have brought their own traditional dinner in with the rest of their Hanukkah foods and the one potato, which becomes the one candle, representing their struggles to maintain their faith, hope, and traditions alive through a Holocaust death camp.
Considering the topic, this could be a hard book to read, but it is not -- it is sensitively told, a celebration of strength and resisliency, determination, family and faith. If there is a problem with how the menorah is lighted (I can't say), that would be a shame and should be corrected in reprintings, but I feel that the power of the book lies elsewhere and should be appreciated for its fullness.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Larry Mark MyJewishBooksDotCom on November 24, 2002
Format: Library Binding
With dark brown and violet pastels, the authors tell the story of a Hanukkah celebration in a suburban Tudor home. Families gather, cook, celebrate, and eat. Sitting at the table with china and knit kippahs and nice glassware, they serve a beef brisket, latkas, and sour cream and apple sauce. I will assume that the sour CREAM is non-dairy, or else some Maccabees would have attacked this home as they did the Greco-Assyrians. But, I digress. Grandma takes out a raw potato. Was it for grating? No. Grandma and Great Aunt Rose tell the story of their first night of Hanukkah in the Buchenwald death camp. They risked their lives to steal a potato, and even though they were starving, they used it to make a candle to celebrate the holiday. They all place it next to the menorah, walk to the wintery yard, and watch the glow. They drink l'chayim under a full moon (although there can never be a full moon during the eight days of Hanukkah, since it has to be a darkened new moon (ooops!). A story of courage and triumph and family, yet with a few errors which can be turned into a learning opportunity when reading it to your kids
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 3, 2002
Format: Library Binding
I find it appauling that simply because this is a non-kosher family being depicted (as my family is) it is considered an ERROR. Equally appauling is the fact that because there is one belief about how the candles should be lit, all other beliefs are suddenly invalidated. But most appauling of all is that we finally have a book that not only takes the holiday seriously but celebrates it with such sincerity and a sense of hope, and yet you sit there and try to find reasons to discredit it. I for one think this is a truly amazing book, and I am more than happy to share it with my family.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on November 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
In Eve Bunting's One Candle it is during a Hanukkah dinner that relatives revisit the Holocaust with their children, telling them of their brave attempt to celebrate Hanukkah even in a Nazi prison camp. Add the warm and beautifully realistic drawings by K. Wendy Popp, and you have a superbly presented account of Hanukkah's meaning to different generations.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 9, 2005
Format: Library Binding
This book is a touching story about celebrating Hanukkah in a work camp with two young girls. It is a book od love, hope, and life. Younger kids would probably not understand all of it and it might bore some older kids. Overall it is a pretty good book. The pictures help you understand it even more.
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