By Laura Krauss Melmed, Chronicle Books, $16.99, 24 pages
So begins Laura Krauss Melmed’s Eight Winter Nights: A Family Hanukkah Book. It will make a wonderful addition to any family library. In short versus and poems, this book celebrates Hanukkah. Each night a colorful candle is added to the menorah. Certain activities typical to each day are highlighted. The fourth night is a time for fun and games with the family. Parents can use this chance to teach readers about the dreidel. Melmed includes words to the dreidel game and chase. Elizabeth Schlossberg’s pencil and pastel illustrations add magic to the pages. The burning candles cast a warm glow across the family and Schlossberg captures it beautifully. Readers will actually feel the celebration of Hanukkah…see the joyful sights, hear the story of Judah Maccabee, and smell the potato latkes and applesauce!
Practice the rhymes and songs found on each page with your child to help bring the magic alive. Each page has a little poem that introduces symbols and traditional parts of the holiday. For example, chocolate coins are “Hanukkah gelt…munch them fast before they melt!” The end of the book provides the story of Hanukkah and traditions.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin