On the First Night of Chanukah



Chanukah tale borrows Christmas melody -- oy.

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this Chanukah book is based on the Christmas song "The Twelve Days of Christmas," which Jewish families may not like.

Parents say

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What's the story?

A family celebrates Chanukah to the tune of \"The Twelve Days of Christmas.\"

Is it any good?


This slim book doesn't have much to offer by way of story or illustrations. Written clumsily to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," there is little besides Chanukah clichés here. There is, of course, mention of dreidels, latkes, gelt, and the menorah, but other than a list of Chanukah-ish things, nothing happens. The pictures are merry cartoons, with every man wearing a hat or yarmulke and every kid wearing a grin. A look at the puppets (on the sixth night) shows a Maccabbee playhouse, but that's the closest we get to any discussion about Chanukah's origins.

Except for relying on a Christmas carol for its schtick, there's nothing particularly wrong with this book, but there's nothing particularly right either. It's a quick, inexpensive gift to grab on the way to a kids' holiday party, and that's about it.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about their own Chanukah celebrations. How are they the same as the ones illustrated in this book? How are they different?

Book details

Author:Cecily Kaiser
Illustrator:Brian Schatell
Genre:Picture Book
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Scholastic Inc.
Publication date:October 25, 2007
Number of pages:24
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 7
Read aloud:4
Read alone:8

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Kid, 12 years old December 10, 2010

Hey, I'm alright with a Christmas Melody, but where are the Maccabees?

I have taken a look at several of the Chanukah books for kids, and while it was a very bloody battle, the Maccabees are left out of every one! All I'm saying is, Matisyahu didn't die just for Judah Maccabee to sit there! He fought! Still, I suppose this and all the other books on the holiday are family friendly. Just not accurate or descriptive.


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