Hanukkah at Monica’s

PJ Pub. Oct. 2022. 32p. pap. $8.99. ISBN 9781736557372.
Toddler-PreS–This picture book takes a look at Monica’s Hanukkah party. As it’s nearing time for the party to start, Monica, a charming girl with tan skin and brown hair, is antsy and has to do her “wild & crazy...I-can’t-wait” dance. Her first guest arrives, and it’s an octopus carrying a menorah. The octopus is followed by a pirate with chocolate coins, a jellyfish with a jelly donut, and others. Once all the guests arrive, the party kicks off with making latkes—but oops! There isn’t enough oil! A Hanukkah miracle occurs, and there’s a knock on the door from a robot with a can of oil. Now everyone can celebrate and party! This is a quick read aimed at young children. It gives a cursory overview of the important traditions and parts of Hanukkah, highlighting activities like playing dreidel and lighting the menorah. But the book fails at giving any context as to why these items are brought to the party, and sometimes it does not give the traditional names to the items. In one case, the pirate brings chocolate coins, rather than “gelt.” There’s also no explanation as to why some guests are human, some are animals, and some are anthropomorphized objects, which is just an odd choice.
VERDICT This story is lackluster and often seems to miss the point. Skip adding this book to your holiday collection.

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