The Count's Hanukkah Countdown

  • Interest Level: Preschool - Grade 1
  • Reading Level: Preschool

At a Hanukkah party on Sesame Street, Grover and the Count welcome visiting Israeli Muppet friends Brosh and Avigail, tell the story of Hanukkah, feast on latkes, and learn that EIGHT is the perfect Hanukkah number.

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Interest Level Preschool - Grade 1
Reading Level Preschool
Genre Picture Books
Copyright 2012
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Brand Shalom Sesame ®
Imprint Kar-Ben Publishing ®
Language English
Number of Pages 24
Publication Date 2012-08-01
Text Type Fiction
BISACS JUV017110, JUV033020
Dewey [E]
Graphics Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 9.5 x 9.75
ATOS Reading Level 3.1
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 155251
Accelerated Reader® Points 0.5
Features Original artwork and Reviewed

Author: Tilda Balsley

Tilda Balsley has written many books for Kar-Ben, bringing her stories to life with rhyme, rhythm, and humor. Tilda lives with her husband and their rescue Shih Tzu in Reidsville, North Carolina.

Author: Ellen Fischer

Ellen Fischer was born in St. Louis. Following graduation from Washington University, she taught children with special needs and then ESL at a Jewish Day School. She lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with her husband. They have three children.

Illustrator: Tom Leigh

Tom Leigh is a children’s book author and longtime illustrator of Sesame Street books. He lives on Little Deer Isle off the coast of Maine.


Jewish Book World

“Sesame Street’s famous regulars and Hanukkah meet in a cute story that delivers the holiday combined with numbers up to eight. Grover hosts a latke party for Israeli muppet friends; the Count loves the idea; he includes himself because eight is the perfect Hanukkah number. The wordy story presents the holiday customs of candle lighting, dreidel spinning, latke eating and gift giving. It explains the historical background of Antiochus, the Maccabees and the miracle of the oil. It never forgets to count from one to eight, with repetition cleverly done to teach and to tickle the funny bone. The tale’s ancient history declares it was the Jews who fought for religious freedom; it is murky about the modern holiday being a Jewish rather than an Israeli one or one celebrated around the world with or without Israelis. Jewish children will connect at once. Children of other persuasions will learn Jewish customs as they reinforce diversity and tolerance. Everyone of every calling practices counting. The active illustrations accurately replicate the well known, beloved TV Muppets that young readers enjoy and relate to. This is the start of a fine collaboration between Kar-Ben and Sesame Street Workshop in Shalom Sesame with three more books promised. This first one, available in hardback, paperback, and e-book, is recommended for ages 4-6.”—Jewish Book World

The Horn Book Magazine

“Sesame Street mainstays Grover and the Count star, with new Israeli friends Avigail and Brosh, in this Shalom Sesame celebration of Hanukkah. Eight friends and family members—’the perfect Hanukkah number,’ by the Count’s refrain—come together to light the menorah, feast on latkes and sufganiyot (jelly donuts), and listen to Uncle Joe’s retelling of the Hanukkah story. Bright, familiar-from-Sesame Street illustrations complement the text, which features a successful imitation of Grover’s signature singsong cadence, while bold-face numbers emphasize the Count’s favorite pastime.” —The Horn Book

Publishers Weekly

“Some of Sesame Street’s favorite characters and their Israeli friends join together for a Hanukkah party in this delightful number story, the first of four books in the Shalom Sesame series. As Grover prepares for and participates in a holiday party, the Count joins in the festivities and keeps count of just how many candles are being lit, how many latkes are on the table, and how much gelt is being used for a game of dreidel. Children will laugh at the Count’s affinity for the number eight, while the lively, fun illustrations bring the excitement of Hanukkah to life.”—Publishers Weekly

Kirkus Reviews

“A family visit from Israel to Sesame Street includes a traditional Hanukkah observance while the number-obsessed Count happily looks for ways to include the perfect Hanukkah numeral 8 whenever possible.

With Grover’s assistance, Aunt Sara, Uncle Joe and the twins get ready to celebrate the holiday with their Israeli guests, Brosh and Avigail (all are Muppets). Latkes are made, the table is set, the menorah is cleaned and polished, and Uncle Joe recounts the legend of Judah Maccabee and his small, brave army. As the Count participates, he insists on counting to eight (represented as 8 throughout) for everything. He takes 8 bites of latkes and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts), sings 8 songs and hands out 8 gifts. But ‘[e]verything at Hanukkah doesn’t have to be 8,’ points out one of the twins when there is only one dreidel to play with. Leigh’s signature Sesame Street illustrations in bright, bold colors authenticate this Shalom Sesame tale, the first in a new series focused on Jewish culture and life.

It may not be the most traditional-looking celebration, but the familiarity of Grover and the Count will draw little ones in, with the added fun of counting aloud and recognizing the numerals 1 through 8 continuing the engagement.” —Kirkus Reviews