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There's No Such Thing as a Chanukah Bush, Sandy Goldstein Paperback – September 1, 1983

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Susan Sussman is the author of many award-winning books for children and adults, as well as a screenwriter and playright.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Albert Whitman & Co. (September 1, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807578630
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807578636
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 6 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,136,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on December 16, 1998
Format: Paperback
There are so few books written and aimed at Jewish children this time of year, so it is a pleasure to find a good one. At the end of the year, it's not easy to explain why we don't have a Christmas tree. Another reviewer wrote that all the Jewish families they know have Christmas trees. I don't want to get into a debate, but in the interest of stating another side, some families observe both Chaunkah and Christmas and those families, I assume, would have a Christmas tree. But a Jewish family observing Chanukah, not Christmas, would have no reason to have a Christmas tree. The author shows how we can all help celebrate someone elses holiday. My daughters liked her story and so did I. It wasn't preachy or boring, but it was comforting.
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Format: Hardcover
"Do you have your tree yet," Heather asked Robin. "There it was! That question. Only this time it was worse, because of what Sandy Goldstein had done." Sandy's family had put up a Christmas tree and called it a Chanukah bush.

This nub of the first pages in this 9-chapter, 48-page easy reader captures the conflicted feelings of Robin, the main Jewish character whose best friend Heather was Christian. Heather naturally wanted Robin to share the joy of Christmas. Robin wanted to share it too. But of course, being Jewish, her family did not have a Christmas tree, and she had to tell her friend, "There is no such thing as a Chanukah bush."

Things got worse in school, when Robin's teacher directed the children to construct holiday decorations and Sandy Goldstein sat next to Robin, making the ugliest paper chains she had ever seen. Then all the other children started talking about their tree decorations and Santa Claus. Robin felt so, so, left out.

At home, Robin had a conversation with her mother about different ways of being Jewish. Robin's mother finished by saying that if Sandy Goldstein's family had a Christmas tree that was their business, but she would not have one in her house. They lit Chanukah candles.

Then Robin's Grandpa entered. His union was holding a Christmas party and he wanted Robin to go. The story travels through another five chapters and 28 pages before the girls reach an understanding about one another and their holidays. And that understanding is truly magnificent.

This book shows children the respect that they can and should have for others of varied faiths. Children (and people) can be different, but nevertheless help and love one another, deeply.

And PS, this book is not just for girls. Our copy was a gift from a relative whose son loved the story too.

--- Alyssa A. Lappen
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book contains a universal theme that left me saying, "That's me." I was the odd one out. We've all been there at some point, and this book is outstanding. I also feel like it's a great way for kids outside of the Jewish faith to get that small perspective of what it is like for a Jewish child at Christmastime. It's one of those books that I remember fondly and remember well, even though I haven't read it in twenty years.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My daughter goes to a private school where festivals of the "community" are celebrated. It's really immersion in the traditions that families in the school celebrate. There's a real candle menorah and dreidel games for Hannukah. There's singing angels for St Lucia day and oranges left in stocking by St Nicolas. Last year in kindergarten she was getting more and more uncomfortable about participating in non-Jewish holidays at school. This book really explained why it's ok to do that -- better than I was able to explain. She's so much more comfortable with the idea that we can be Jewish and still learn about other peoples', especially friends', culture.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is one of my favorite books from when I was young. The character in the book learns about how different kinds of Jews approach holidays differently, acknowledging them without passing judgement, but not implying that she ought to assimilate to fit in.
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