Monday, November 22, 2021

Candle Light, Window Bright! Happy Llamakkah by Laura Gehl



In the time of the darkest dark of winter, the candles of Hanukkah appear, lighted one by one until the last, highest candle glows, ready to go into the window to challenge the dark.

Dreidles get spun to remind that miracles were done.

Gifts are given, bright gold foil-covered glittery gelt.

Latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganlyot (donuts) are fried in plenty of oil to remind the children of the miracle of the oil that lasted for eight days when the temple was re-consecrated.

It's Llamakkah for young llamas, likely making a debut as a stars of a story about religious festival, in a path well-paved by bears and mice, reindeer and dogs in all those Christmas storybooks, in Laura Gehl's cleverly portmanteau-titled Happy Llamakkah! (Abrams Appleseed Books, 2020).

Written in tercets, with three-line rhymes, the young celebrants move through the games and rituals of the special days, one candle at a time, and ending with the lighted menorrah glowing in the window, proudly displayed for the world to see, just as lighted Christmas trees and candles also shine--as the author points out in her Author's Notes, for all to see, a symbol of freedom of religion, freely granted to all. Artist Lydia Nichols' little llamas and alpacas go through the beloved rituals of celebration, softly portrayed, mostly in profile, as they share the fun of the days of Passover. A good read-aloud to recognize the rituals of Hanukkah for preschool and early primary children.

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