While the family in I Have a Little Dreidel is the very picture of heimish, the ties that bind in this rhyming story are more Seinfeldian in nature ("We await the arrival/ Of eight days of guests,/ Friends and family, and pests/ Who will threaten our very survival"). Of course, it's all in good funâ€"what kid wouldn't want to dine out on stories of relatives like Grandpa Dave, "a prank-loving joker," who's guaranteed to "hide the new dreidel/ 'neath the couch or the cradle." Udovic's understated domestic scenes do not fully convey the hubbub chronicled in Cleary's (the Words Are Categorical series) text, but what his pictures lack in exaggeration they make up for in affectionately observed details of domestic life. Ages 5-10. (Sept.)[Page 68]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
K-Gr 3 When a wacky extended family converges on one house for all eight nights of Hanukkah, chaos ensues. This is not a warm and fuzzy holiday story, though traditional elements appear throughout. Here the kids play poker instead of dreidel, put chocolate gelt in the VCR, and listen to Grandpa Dave recount his eight-day toilet-paper miracle. Yet, in spite of the ruckus, the candles continue to glow, one added for each successive night. The amusing rhythmic text carries the action along from one crazy night to the next, supported by a busy cast of characters whose antics are illustrated on crowded spreads rich in color. By the end, the menorah is fully lit up, and the family has survived another celebration. An enjoyable, if irreverent, offering.Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library[Page 95]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.