cover image Happy Hanukkah Rebus

Happy Hanukkah Rebus

David A. Adler. Viking Children's Books, $11.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-670-82419-9

The telling of the traditional Hanukkah story, extremely abbreviated here, is good as far as it goes. The plot woven around it, though, is so weak it might have been better to stop right there. Young Sharon puts all her toys on the floor, one after the other, to remind herself of the Hanukkah miracles. Palmer's illustrations are sweet, and the simple but clever rebuses provide readers and listeners a chance to get involved in the story and figure out what is coming next. In addition to a glossary showing the rebuses in order, the story is retold there without rebuses (and no illustrations, either). But the focus of the book is unclear: Is it the Hanukkah story or Sharon's reaction or playing with rebuses? Trying to cover all these bases could very well limit the book's appeal and, ultimately, render it rather insubstantial. Ages 3-8. (Sept.)