I can't really call this a Christmas giveaway today, since the books we are giving away are all about Hanukkah. All three are from Lerner, so you know the printing and binding are all of great quality, right off the bat.
I was tempted to keep this first one:
Title: The Count's Hanukkah Countdown
Author: Tilda Balsley and Ellen Fischer
Illustrator: Tom Leigh
Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing (division of Lerner)
HC Price: $16.95
Besides the obvious appeal of the Sesame Street characters, we are working on counting at home. The number 8, of course, features prominently, along with some subtle number skills (wait...we only have seven...we need one more!). The very basics of the celebration, from the addition of a candle each night to the story of the Maccabees, are introduced. This would be a good book for children who have not celebrated Hanukkah, probably not so much for those who do. The only issue I have with it is really a tiny one - why do Jewish children in books always have to have traditionally Jewish names? Lovely names, of course, it just seems a bit contrived that no one in the family ever has a non-traditional name.
Moving on to:
Author: Lisa Bullard
Illustrator: Constanza Basaluzzo
Publisher: Millbrook Press (division of Lerner)
HC Price: $23.95
Like the Sesame Street book, this one is part of a series (watch for a review of Carter's Christmas soon). I will be ordering the whole set for the library, so I don't mind including this one in the giveaway! I really like the explanations of the various parts of a Hanukkah celebration - Bullard manages to give a little more detail and background of some parts of it (such as the purpose of the dreidel) without weighing the book down. Finding a good Hanukkah read-aloud for story times is difficult, but this one would do nicely. There are even instructions for making your own dreidel out of a milk carton.
Last, but not least:
Title: Emanuel and the Hanukkah Rescue
Author: Heidi Smith Hyde
Illustrator: Jamel Akib
Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing
HC Price: $17.95
There are very few picture books that touch upon the persecution faced by the Jewish people over the years, and this one does so very gently - seen, as it is, through the eyes of a child who doesn't understand his father's fear. Emanuel's father, and many others in their whaling town, are 'secret Jews' who emigrated from Portugal. Although they are now free to practice their religion, they continue to do so in secret - until a storm late one Hanukkah night.
If I was giving any of these three as a gift, I would pair it with this set from Constructive Playthings:
We just got it at the library a couple months ago, and I have been very impressed with the quality and durability of the pieces. This set would be excellent either for children who celebrate Hanukkah, or for a classroom situation.
If you would like to win all three of these books (but not the play set - sorry, we're keeping that!), just check out the giveaway rules here, and leave us a comment!