Nonna's Hanukkah Surprise Paperback – Picture Book, August 1, 2015
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"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
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.
- 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
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,932,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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In my opinion, this story does a great job of explaining what Hanukkah is about to children. They will learn the story of what Hanukkah is about, what is done to prepare for it, a game that is played, and a food that is eaten during it. It shows that Hanukkah can be brought to other members of our family and our friends lives, if they will allow us to. The illustrations do a great job of explaining the story and I think they will help children understand it better!
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for a honest and unbiased review.
Rachel slept the entire flight. She was excited to see Nonna and smell her lovely perfume. Nonna loved the design of her perfume bottles and kept them all. Once at the house the family prepared for the holiday celebrations. It was then that Rachel realized she didn’t have her backpack which meant she didn’t have her menorah. Rachel was very sad and wanted to go home. Nonna asked Rachel to tell her about her menorah and then she had an idea. What do you think Nonna will do to cheer up Rachel?
Author Karen Fisman invites families in to share the holidays. This holiday treat will add warmth to any heart and home. Parents, teachers and young readers will enjoy the festive and cheery illustrations by Martha Aviles. Readers will also learn about Hanukkah and Jewish culture.
Daddy handed Rachel a very special gift wrapped in beautiful purple paper ... a menorah! It was not just any menorah, but a very special one in which each branch was “shaped just like a person.” These people were “nine proud Maccabees, each holding a candle, including one for the shammash.” In her mind’s eye Rachel remembered the story of the Maccabees, but naturally she was in the story holding a weapon and a shield. During the days of King Antiochus there certainly weren’t any girl soldiers, but Rachel could dream. The amazing thing about the menorah was that “all nine Maccabees were girls!”
In a week they would be heading to the airport and Nonna’s. Rachel’s little backpack, which held the special menorah, would be tucked under a seat on the plane. Rachel’s eyes grew heavy and soon she was fast asleep. “Wake up, Rach,” said Daddy, “We’re landing.” All the cousins, including Nonna, were waiting to greet them and take the family to Nonna’s. There were special foods for Christmas awaiting, including “Nonna’s famous ‘panettone.’” It would be a special time because everyone would celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas ... or would they? The suitcase full of Hanukkah necessities was there, but the special menorah with the nine proud Maccabees was on the plane!
This is a fabulously fun tale of a most unusual Hanukkah that all children will enjoy. Many families celebrate a variety of religious traditions, some at home and others with relatives. This is a tale of Rachel who is stressed that she won’t be able to celebrate them if she has to go to Nonna’s. Her parents prepare her and bring along everything Rachel will need so she can show her cousins and Nonna all about Hanukkah. The focus is on the menorah, but there’s a brief overview of Hanukkah (the Festival of Lights) in the back. The twist at the end, Nonna’s solution to the lost menorah, is quite ingenious and charming. This is the perfect tale for children who do celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas, especially if they have to travel, bringing their traditions along with them in a backpack.
This book courtesy of the publisher.