cover image All the Lights in the Night

All the Lights in the Night

Arthur A. Levine. HarperCollins Publishers, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10107-7

Bundled up in thick overcoats and scarves, two Jewish boys set off on a long journey to Palestine, hoping to leave behind the persecution of their Russian homeland. Levine's uplifting story--which reads like a folktale--is an admirable blend of religion and history that juxtaposes the tribulations of Benjamin and Moses with a retelling of the Hanukkah story. And just as the Jewish people experienced a miracle with their holy lamp, so too do these boys. Their small, battered lantern, given to them by their mother, keeps on burning, providing them with heat, light and hope. Ransome's richly textured oil paintings, though occasionally less than successful in depicting facial expressions, capture the underlying sadness while illuminating the story's themes of strong brotherly love and enduring faith. An interesting touch is his technique of layering his artwork, inserting a smaller illustration in the foreground to emphasize a particular textual detail. The result is a splendid book for Hanukkah and everyday, where the gentle message leaps out from the boys' shining faces and the homey simplicity of the text. Ages 5-up. (Oct.)