cover image Beni's First Chanukah

Beni's First Chanukah

Jane Breskin Zalben. Henry Holt & Company, $12.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-0479-3

This is the first Chanukah in which Beni is old enough to participate fully. Beni and his charming bear family busily prepare for the first evening's festivities. Beni helps his mother prepare potato latkes while sister Sara makes applesauce for them. The children search for their presents, to no avail, and then brave the winter chill to visit friends. On the way they decorate a tree with red berries and pinecones. Later Beni gets to hold a green candle and repeats a prayer after his father. The first evening two candles burn brightly on the menorah as the snow falls outside. The children teach their friends how to spin the dreidel and everyone sings songs. At the end of the day, a tired Beni murmurs, ``This was my best Chanukah ever.'' This is an enchanting first Chanukah book. Zalben's text is light and tender, a gentle reminder that children take pleasure in simple things and that holidays need not be elaborate to be memorable. And the lovingly rendered illustrations sparkle with beautifully muted hues. Thoughtfully included is the recipe for Beni's mother's latkes. Ages 5-8. (Dec.)