Five Little Dreidels

Little Simon. Sept. 2022. 14p. Board $6.99. ISBN 9781665922388.
PreS–This board book attempt to create a dreidel rhyme based on the song “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” doesn’t hold up effectively. It starts off with “Five little dreidels spinning all around./ One got dizzy and then fell down./ Mama called the doctor, and the doctor said,/ ‘No more dreidels spinning all around.’” It continues in this vein, using different phrasing each time, until the final dreidel wins the gelt and feels sad, prompting the others to join it to “spin again.” While the effectiveness of the original rhyme is due to a combination of the repetitive text and the internal rhyme, here none of the earlier lines rhyme with “the doctor said.” This causes an unsettling dissonance in the rhyme scheme. Additionally, the fact that the text changes up its wording each repetition undermines the effectiveness of the original, rather than making this story more interesting. The full-bleed, digital-looking, cartoon-style illustrations depicting candy-colored dreidels with semicircular eyes and mouths are appealing enough, and the Hebrew letters are accurately drawn. However, they have a boilerplate look about them, reminiscent of a television cartoon or greeting card. Finally, there is no information about the holiday or game of dreidel at all.
VERDICT Colorfully appealing if superficial art isn’t enough to overcome mediocre text. Pass on this unexceptional offering.

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