Mendel’s Hanukkah Mess Up

Kalaniot. Oct. 2022. 32p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781735087573.
K-Gr 3–It’s nearing Hanukkah, Mendel’s favorite Jewish holiday. But Mendel does not have a great history with celebrating Hanukkah. There’s always something that he messes up, like using a sparkler to light the menorah or making the latkes with a few too many onions. This year the rabbi has asked Mendel to drive the Mitzvah Mobile, spread the word about the party, and share the meaning behind the holiday. Mendel is nervous. It all goes well until the menorah on top of the Mitzvah Mobile hits the overpass. This brings news vans to where Mendel is waiting with his ruined truck. Rather than make another mistake, Mendel uses this opportunity to share the meaning of Hanukkah with all the viewers. Arriving at the holiday party, Mendel is braced for the worst; but Rabbi Klein is not mad at all. He exclaims “You should be proud! We saw you on the news! You told the whole world the story of Hanukkah. And that’s what this holiday is all about—sharing the miracles!” This is a unique Hanukkah story; the text is strongly written with an identity of its own. It has a clear point of view, and readers can easily empathize with Mendel. The writing is paired with fun and childlike art, done with markers, that truly helps tell the story and makes readers feel Mendel’s every emotion. Robust back matter includes information about Hanukkah, songs, a recipe, and more.
VERDICT This fun, unique Hanukkah story is one that stands out. A must-purchase for holiday collections.

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