Hanukkah, Here I Come!

Grosset & Dunlap. (Here I Come!). Oct. 2022. 32p. pap. $5.99. ISBN 9780593094266.
PreS-Gr 2–This new title in the “Here I Come” series presents the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Like the other books in the series, this one is comprised of short poems, each with its own title and focusing on a different topic about the holiday. The rhymes come easily and are rarely forced, though at times the poems are split awkwardly between pages. Steinberg presents many of the basic elements of the holiday, balancing information for those less familiar, such as the rules of playing dreidel, with humorous commentary from a child’s perspective, like a warning about messy jelly donuts. Snapshots of family life, such as taking disastrous selfies, are mixed in with occasional unnecessary filler, e.g., on wrapping a present for a rabbit. The background of the holiday is over-simplified—“Macca-BAM! Macca-BOOM! The bad guys ran away!”—and could have been omitted altogether, as the holiday itself is more cultural celebration than historical remembrance for many Jewish families. The recognizably delightful style of Palacios (“Marisol McDonald” series, A Song of Frutas) is slightly muted by a seeming attempt to fit in with the nondescript style of other illustrations in the series. Still, Palacios presents joyful scenes of many diverse families enjoying various elements of the holiday.
VERDICT A paperback with stickers included, this book is likely designed to be given as a gift or part of a home collection. Still, it would make a solid addition to holiday collections seeking to build up their Hanukkah section.

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