Editorial Review

Children's Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD)

Cover: Engineer Ari and the Hanukkah Mishap

“It’s Hanukkah and Engineer Ari is off in his train to celebrate the holiday with his friends, Jessie and Nathaniel. He is carrying traditional sufganiyot (jelly donuts), dreidels, and Turkish coins. His Hannukiah (the correct name for the holiday candelabra) travels with him, too. Along the way, he passes children playing Maccabees and Syrians which leads to a streamlined retelling of the Hanukkah story. Interestingly, the way the story is phrased implies that there were not one but two Hanukkah miracles, the second being the defeat of the greater Syrian army by the small band of Jewish guerilla fighters. Little girls near the tracks play dreidel, but since the story takes place in Jerusalem, the letters on the spinning toy represent, ‘A miracle happened here,’ rather than the Diaspora translation of, ‘A miracle happened there.’ As Ari takes off on his journey, his train is derailed by a wayward camel and his presents are spilled from the train. A friendly Bedouin shepherd helps to retrieve the gifts and offers Ari traditional hospitality as they share Ari’s celebration on the first night of the holiday. By the time Jessie and Ari arrive from Jaffa to help right the train, Ari has solidified a new friendship and discovered that he is celebrating the holiday on the actual site of the Maccabees’ uprising. There’s a lot of good historical information packed into this charming book, and the synopsized story of the origin of the holiday is perfectly woven into the story of new friends, old traditions, all illustrated with cheery and colorful pictures children will love.”—Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database

Products Reviewed

Title  
Engineer Ari and the Hanukkah Mishap
  • Available in limited formats
  • Soon! Fall 2020
  • New! Spring 2020
  • New! Fall 2019

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