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Review of A Hanukkah with Mazel

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A Hanukkah with Mazel
by Joel Edward Stein; illus. by Elisa Vavouri
Primary    Kar-Ben    32 pp.
9/16    978-1-4677-8171-8    $17.99
Paper ed.  978-1-4677-8176-3    $7.99    g
e-book ed.  978-1-5124-0936-9    $6.99

Artist Misha doesn’t have much, but he has enough milk to share with the cat he finds in his barn, whom he names Mazel (“luck”). He can’t afford candles, but he has paint and talent enough to add flames to a menorah on a canvas and share a bright Hanukkah with his new friend. But what happens when that new friend’s old friend knocks at the door? Stein’s voice echoes the cadence of Jewish folktales (the story is similar to Isaac Bashevis Singer’s The Parakeet Named Dreidel, picture-book version rev. 11/15), and Vavouri’s rich-hued illustrations, particularly those of Misha’s own paintings, are reminiscent of Marc Chagall’s work. A hamish, warm, old-fashioned Hanukkah story.

From the November/December 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Shoshana Flax About Shoshana Flax

Shoshana Flax, assistant editor for The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons College.

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