Holiday books have officially taken over our front of store. There are numerous editions of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and The Twelve Days of Christmas, some old classics and new favorites. As tempting as it might be to dedicate all of December to holiday books, I’ll try to intersperse other recommendations. But given that it’s officially December, we might as well get started.
The number of Hanukkah books has increased exponentially. While famous character such as Fancy Nancy and Curious George tend to focus on Christmas, some authors and publishers are wizening up and producing books that cross the holidays or offer Hanukkah AND Christmas books. More on that another day. The Hanukkah Hop! by Erica Silverman and illustrated by Steven D’Amico was new last year (Simon & Schuster, $12.99). It’s a delightful romp through the holiday and, as probably gleaned from the title, is the perfect set-up for a dance party. The words tumble out in a sing-song rhythm: “Mommy shines menorahs. // Daddy clears a space to dance. // Rachel swirls with candles // as she sings a bim-bom chant”.
I’ll whirl all night
at our Hanukkah Hop!”
Adult readers will need to practice reading, while holding the book, and swirling and whirling. This is no bed-time book, it demands to be danced to. Rachel two-steps her guests inside, dips and pirouettes, and spins like a dreidel. There are some quiet moments when Mommy tells a story and the family debates the merits of traditional foods. But the party really gets started when the klezmer band appears: two contiguous double-page spreads show the party “swaying”, “snapping”, and “flap-flap flapping”. D’Amico’s illustrations are vibrant and energetic. I personally love the little cat who always shows up somewhere on the page participating in the Hanukkah hop.