cover image IT'S A MIRACLE: A Hanukkah Storybook

IT'S A MIRACLE: A Hanukkah Storybook

Stephanie Spinner, , illus. by Jill McElmurry. . Atheneum/Schwartz, $16.95 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-689-84493-5

Nearly seven years old, Owen is now the family's O.C.L. (Official Candle Lighter), and Grandma Karen tells him he's a natural. She also tells him stories, one brief tale for each night of the holiday—one about a dentist who trains his parrot, Dreidel, to reassure his patients, one about a girl who wants to become a rabbi ("Like Cousin Shira?" asks Owen. "Exactly like Cousin Shira," replies Grandma Karen), etc. By the eighth night all the relatives introduced in the stories gather for a festive dinner. Spinner (Aliens for Breakfast) conjures modern characters happy to celebrate the heritage they share both as Jews and as members of the same family, and her light touch virtually promises that readers of many faiths will be glad of a seat at Owen's table. McElmurry's (Mad About Plaid) larky gouaches deepen the characterizations and accent the good humor of the text. Endnotes supply Hanukkah prayers and background on the holiday. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)