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The Magic Menorah: A Modern Chanukah Tale Hardcover – October 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing; 1st edition (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689826060
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689826061
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,097,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Zalben (Pearl's Eight Days of Chanukah) serves up a middling holiday story, packaged in chapter-book format with atmospheric line drawings. Stanley rubs a long-neglected menorah to a nice shine and releases Fishel the genie, who grants Stanley three wishes. What ensues teaches Stanley the unsurprising lesson that he already has everything he needs for happiness. To borrow from Fishel's sitcom Yiddish ("So? Nu already? What's it going to be?"), the major ingredient here is schmaltz. Ages 7-10.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Gr 3-5-Stanley Green, 12, doesn't look forward to Chanukah. Every year his house is overrun with annoying relatives, and his grandfather, who normally tells the best stories, gets quiet and sad. This year turns out to be different, though. Stanley is sent to the attic to get a package for his grandfather. In it, he finds a tarnished old menorah. As the boy cleans it up, a shabby little old man appears, demands a nosh, and offers three wishes if Stanley can answer three riddles. Stanley doesn't get the right answers, but Fishel lets him wish anyway. Of course, each wish turns out far differently than Stanley anticipates. He learns that Fame and Fortune come in many forms, and realizes that Happiness has been his all along. He also learns something about his family history and why his grandfather is so sad at Chanukah. This short, simple chapter book is filled with details about traditions of the holiday. Hebrew and Yiddish words are sprinkled liberally throughout, with a glossary at the end. The realistic illustrations, vignettes with text wrapped around them, nicely support the story. An entertaining read-aloud that could easily be adapted as a play or reader's theater script.-M. A.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


More About the Author

Born in Queens/NYC. Award-winning author/artist of over 50 picture books and YA novels. Latest novel is FOUR SEASONS (Knopf/Random House) Lives and works Long Island/NYC. Writes, paints, and travels to schools throughout the world speaking on children's books of which she is passionate about.

Magazine article: "Portrait of An Artist as a Young Mouse"on MOUSTERPIECE: a mouse-sized guide to modern art (Roaring Brook Press/ Macmillan) in "Children & Libraries" / The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children 2013 ALA/ALSC Winter Issue. Pgs 16-19. Abstract art activities suitable for teachers, librarians, and parents related to this book are at the end of the article and bibliography of my top ten books on becoming an artist. Article also appears on my website under the articles category: www.janebreskinzalben.com

MOUSTERPIECE was deemed Caldecott-worthy and discussed at Calling Caldecott: this is the link:
http://www.hbook.com/2012/09/blogs/calling-caldecott/here-we-go-again/

Blog interview by Julie Danielson. http://blaine.org/sevenimpossiblethings/?p=2419
Blog interview: http://artstomarket.com/introducing-modern-art-to-preschoolers-mousterpiece/

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Roz Levine on November 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Stanley Green never looked forward to Chanukah. He felt it was more trouble than it was worth. All his relatives came to his house with their sloppy hugs and kisses, his little cousins fought and yelled, got into his things, and made a big mess. There was too much cooking, and his arm ached from grating potatoes and chopping onions for the latkes. And there was too much cleaning before the celebration, and even more afterwards. Worst of all, on Chanukah, a supposedly happy holiday, his Grandpa Abe was always quiet and very sad. This year something new was added to the usual routine. Stanley was sent up to the attic to find an old wrapped package in the large trunk. He'd never seen it before and with his curiosity getting the better of him, carefully opened the brown paper to find a tarnished menorah. As he began to wipe off the dust, he wondered why anyone would want this old thing. Just as he finished examining it more closely, and polishing the shammash until it glowed, the floor began to shake, a big puff of smoke erupted, and a very old man appeared in front of him..... Jane Breskin Zalben has written a lovely and memorable Chanukah story, with a simple and gentle message, that won't be lost on young readers. Her engaging and entertaining text, complete with yiddish words and expressions, is complemented by Donna Diamond's old photograph-like artwork, and together they've authored a tender and poignant story of love, family, and the true meaning of happiness. There's even a glossary included at the end of the story, to help with the yiddish and enhance learning. Perfect as a reading book for youngsters 8 and older, The Magic Menorah makes an even better read-aloud story the entire family can share and enjoy together.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on November 7, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Donna Diamond illustrates The Magic Menorah, a wonderfully told and modern Chanukah story, which will appeal to ages 7-10. Stanley hates Chanukah: he has to deal with noisy relatives, clean the house, and finds little to celebrate. When he finds an antique menorah and a genie, he is taken on a time trip which demonstrates the value of Chanukah in his life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Zukerman on April 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great story to convey non-materialistic enjoyment of the Hanukkah holiday, encouraging gratitude and an appreciation of those who have gone before.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mbl on March 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After all of the serious, boring Chanukah books that I've seen in my career, this book is a breath of fresh air. You'll love it. My kids did and so did I.
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