The Ninth Night of Hanukkah

Erica S. Perl, illus. by Shahar Kober. Sterling Children’s, $16.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4549-4088-3

When a family moves into a new apartment on the first night of Hanukkah, they can’t find any of the things they typically use to celebrate—neither menorah nor lucky latke pan, neither dreidel nor gelt. Siblings Rachel and Max exercise ingenuity amid the piles of unpacked boxes, though, building a menorah, improvising an oversize dreidel out of an umbrella and a cardboard circle, and calling on a neighbor in search of candles. Though “it didn’t feel quite like Hanukkah,” Perl writes, they find a building full of people happy to help—Joe the super’s freshly made French fries almost make up for the lack of latkes. When the Hanukkah items finally arrive the day after the eight-night holiday ends, Max notes that menorahs actually have nine candles, and the family invites friends over for a big celebration on night nine. Alongside matter-of-fact prose, unassuming, warm pictures by Kober make this a lovely tale of holiday-making and community-building in a multicultural world. Ages 3–up. [em](Sept.) [/em]