I am so excited to talk up a new Hanukkah book! I received an e-mail from Sylvia Rouss, the author of the adorable Sammy the Spider series of books, inviting me to take a look at her new book, The Hanukkah Fable. I really enjoyed Sammy the Spider’s First Hanukkah, and having such a popular series author get in touch made my day. So let’s take a look at The Hanukkah Fable of Little Dreidel and Silver Menorah.
The Hanukkah Fable of Little Dreidel and Silver Menorah, by Sylvia Rouss/Illustrated by TL Derby,
(Nov. 2019, MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing), $19.99, ISBN: 978-1643720517
It’s the last night of Hanukkah, and a family gathers at the table to sing their blessings. When they head into the kitchen to start bringing out the food, the silver menorah notices that the wooden dreidel looks a little downcast; upon asking, we learn that dreidel is sad because the family gushed over the beautiful Silver Menorah, while the Wooden Dreidel went seemingly unnoticed. With a little Hanukkah magjc, Silver Menorah helps Dreidel turn into a lovely blue, to match the tablecloth! But Dreidel still goes unnoticed, so Silver Menorah helps Dreidel try on a few other colors until, finally, he ends up back in its original wooden form and learns that being true to oneself is the best way to be.
This is a sweet Hanukkah story with a wonderful moral: embrace who you are. You have no idea how important you may be to someone. The story has some rhyme and repetition in the form of Silver Menorah’s magic rhyme, “Spin around once and count to three and [color] is the color that you’ll be”. This adds a nice bit of interactivity to a storytime: hand out colorful dreidels if you have them, or colorful paper or scarves; invite the kids to stand up and twirl, like Dreidel, and call out their colors! Back matter includes a traditional Hanukkah song and prayers said when lighting the candles, and a note about Hanukkah.
TL Derby’s illustrations are bold and vibrant; both Silver Menorah and Dreidel have expressive facial expressions, and Silver Menorah looks sparkly and textured, like a mixed media rendering using foil.
Sylvia Rouss is the author of over 50 children’s picture books, most notably the Sammy the Spider series. Her books have received numerous awards, including the National Jewish Book Award, Sydney Taylor Award, Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, and Storytelling World Award.
TL Derby is a children’s book author and illustrator with a BFA in Creative Writing for Entertainment and an MFA In Creative Writing.