Yitzi and the Giant Menorah

Richard Ungar. Tundra, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-77049-812-9
The mayor of Lublin presents another village with a giant menorah for its town square: “Eight dazzling branches flowed from a magnificent stem.” Such magnanimity demands an appropriate thank you, but what? Since the village in question is Chelm and, according to Jewish legend, populated by fools, finding the answer turns into a giddy, harebrained obsession. After several townspeople fail, young Yitzi devises a plan that not only works but also gets the Chelmites back in touch with the beauty and joy of Hanukkah. When Ungar’s (Even Higher) compositions are tightly focused, his signature folkloric style and swirling pastels make for some stunning, if earnest (given the subject matter) images. But too many of the pictures lack interesting framings or narrative momentum and can feel more like a busy array of pretty colors. Ages 5–9. Agent: Josh Adams, Adams Literary. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/26/2016
Release date: 09/06/2016
Genre: Children's
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