I Have a Little Dreidel

Maxie Baum, Author, Julie Paschkis, Illustrator , illus. by Julie Paschkis. Scholastic/Cartwheel $9.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-439-64997-1

The popular Jewish tune gets a heartfelt makeover, thanks to Baum's new lyrics and Paschkis's (Yellow Elephant ) cheery, mural-like pictures in this paper-over-board volume. While the original song focuses on the title top, Baum casts a wider net, devoting several verses to the joys of an extended family's latke-making and eating ("The cousins grate potatoes;/ That's what we like to do—/ We mix matzo and some onions,/ Then add an egg or two"). Decorated with traditional Jewish motifs, the flattened-perspective tableaux offer an idealized, low-tech evocation of modern family life. The kids play dreidel while a couple dances to music performed by two other family members, and there's nary a TV, Gameboy or Hanukkah present in sight. Young celebrants will likely take comfort in this homey articulation of Jewish tradition and continuity. Ages 3-5. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/25/2006
Release date: 10/01/2006
Genre: Children's
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