cover image The Parakeet Named Dreidel

The Parakeet Named Dreidel

Isaac Bashevis Singer, illus. by Suzanne Raphael Berkson. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-374-30094-4

In this newly illustrated tale from Singer’s 1980 collection The Power of Light, a stray parakeet appears at the window of a Brooklyn family on the cold and snowy eighth night of Hanukkah. That’s odd enough, but this is no ordinary bird: it loves to play with dreidels (hence the name the family gives it) and speaks Yiddish—especially the phrase “Zeldele, geh schlofen” (“Zeldele, go to sleep”). Nine years with Dreidel as a beloved pet pass, and the family’s son goes to college, where he falls in love with a “beautiful and gifted” girl who turns out to be none other than the parrot’s original owner herself. Newcomer Berkson contributes largely straightforward ink-and-watercolor interpretations of the action, but the wit and wonder that has always animated Singer’s matter-of-factly magical world shines through. Ages 5–8. (Sept.)