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Nonna's Hanukkah Surprise Paperback – Picture Book, August 1, 2015

5.0 out of 5 stars 8 ratings

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Paperback, Picture Book
$11.05 $0.81

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Editorial Reviews


"Rachel and her family go on a plane trip to visit their Italian grandmother during Hanukkah. Rachel loves her Nonna, but is concerned that there will be no proper Hanukkah this year, as Nonna and all of her father's family celebrate Christmas. Rachel's mother packs a suitcase filled with dreidels, candles, chocolate gelt, decorations, and of course gifts, and the entire family joins in to share a beautiful Hanukkah. When Rachel's special new menorah goes missing - the one with nine Maccabee women - her Nonna steps in to save the day with a creative solution. Nonna is the perfect loving grandmother that everyone would hope to have, and Rachel's parents are beautifully sensitive to her emotional needs. Lovely and softly colorful stylized paintings perfectly illustrate the story. Recommended as a read-loud." -- AJL Newsletter

"This reassuring story where grandma saves the day effortlessly incorporates background information and context about both Hanukkah and Christmas. Rachel is excited to go spend the holidays with her Italian cousins and beloved Nonna, but is also upset about missing Hanukkah. Her parents assure her that they can still celebrate the holiday and pack up dreidels, chocolate gelt, and candles. They even surprise Rachel with a cool new menorah featuring girl Maccabee warriors. However, after a warm welcome at Nonna's house, Rachel realizes that the menorah was left on the plane. All seems lost until Nonna improvises a beautiful new menorah out of her treasured perfume bottles, and the first night candle is lit right on time. References to King Antiochus, panettone, lasagna, and latkes are seamlessly woven into the story, and young readers will readily absorb new information along with affirmations of tolerance and acceptance. Illustrations in muted warm colors create a cozy feel and help make this a lovely addition to the holiday canon. Shelve with Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama, by Selina Alko (2012)." -- Booklist

"Rachel loves her Italian grandmother, who always smells so wonderful, but worries that a December visit to Italy means she will miss Hanukkah, since her Italian relatives all celebrate Christmas. Her parents reassure her that they can bring the Hanukkah celebration with them and share it with her father's family. They even give her an early Hanukkah gift - a super cool menorah with a team of all-girl Maccabees to hold the candles! Rachel puts the menorah in her carry-on bag and then forgets it on the plane. The little girl is heartbroken, but her Nonna is a smart woman and, after having Rachel describe the menorah, comes up with the perfect, and perfumed, solution. The book includes a brief description of Hanukkah in the body of the story, with a paragraph at the end adding a little more. This title would make a fine read-aloud for a multicultural holiday storytime. Attractive illustrations in primarily in blues and greens are both humorous and tender. VERDICT Not much of a surprise, but a nicely told tale of a family living comfortably with different religions and traditions." -- School Library Journal

About the Author

Karen Fisman started making up her own Jewish holiday stories when her kids were in nursery school. Her previous books include An Adventure in Latkaland and Problems in Purimville.

Martha Avilés was born and raised in Mexico City. She has illustrated many children's books including Say Hello, Lily; The Shabbat Princess; and Stones for Grandpa.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kar-Ben Publishing ®; Illustrated edition (August 1, 2015)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1467734772
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1467734776
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 4 - 9 years
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ AD660L
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ Preschool - 3
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 9 x 0.25 x 11 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    5.0 out of 5 stars 8 ratings

Customer reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on September 29, 2015
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Reviewed in the United States on November 23, 2015
Reviewed in the United States on September 14, 2015
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Reviewed in the United States on December 9, 2017

Top reviews from other countries

Sharon Neiss
5.0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful, sweet story
Reviewed in Canada on January 18, 2016
Verified Purchase
Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Hanukkah Fun
Reviewed in Canada on September 24, 2017
Verified Purchase