Mrs. Maccabee’s Miracle

Kar-Ben. Oct. 2023. 24p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781728477916.
PreS-K–The famous five sons of Matthias Maccabee are constantly losing things. From cloaks, to scrolls, to spears; they ask, “Mom, have you seen my...?” The response is always that the item does not, “grow legs and walk away. Where you leave them is where they stay.” But each time, Mom relents and tells them where to find it. Interspersed with this doggerel is the Hanukkah story, culminating with the Maccabee sons finding the last of the oil—without help from Mom, who ends the story by saying of their finding it: “A great miracle happened here.” The full-bleed, slightly naïve-style illustrations depict the Maccabees with tan skin and dark hair, while the Greeks have pale skin. Likely digital art has the look of colored pencils and watercolor done in somewhat muted tones. The story includes the apocryphal tale of the history of the dreidel. An extensive endnote covers a more detailed, complete story of Hanukkah, including two different interpretations of the reason for the eight-day celebration.
VERDICT In an attempt to be child-centric, this Hanukkah book fails in historical accuracy and a plausible storyline, while adding anachronistic, simplified language to the mix. Better Hanukkah books abound. Pass on this subpar effort.

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