Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Hanukkah Moon

Hanukkah Moon

Deborah Da Costa
Illustrator:  Gosia Mosz 
Picture Book
For ages 6 to 10
Lerner, 2007   ISBN: 978-1580132442

Isobel is going to spend Hanukkah with her aunt Luisa. She is a little worried because her aunt has only just come from Mexico and Isobel wonders if her aunt will know "how we celebrate Hanukkah here." Her father tells his daughter that at Aunt Luisa's house she will get to celebrate the Hanukkah Moon. Isobel has not idea what a Hanukkah Moon is. What is her father talking about?

When Isobel gets inside Aunt Luisa's house she sees that there is a banner decorated with birds hung over the fireplace and a pinata shaped like a dreidel hanging from the ceiling. In the window Aunt Luisa has a hanukkiah but it does not look anything like the one that Isobel has at home. That night they exchange gifts. Aunt Luisa gives Isobel a little camera and in the morning she gets Isobel up very early to take photographs of the birds in the tree in Aunt Luisa's yard. When they light the hanukkiah on the second evening Aunt Luisa gives Isobel a lovely scrapbook for her bird photographs.

The next day Isobel and her aunt prepare for a Hanukkah Moon party. They make dreidel-shaped cookies and couscous and in the evening Aunt Luisa's photography students come for dinner. They are not the only guests though. After the meal and after Isobel has broken open the pinata, everyone goes outside. Because it is the night of the new moon, it is very dark and in the darkness Isobel sees two deer and a raccoon come to eat the food that Aunt Luisa has put out for them. Isobel's visit at her Aunt's house turns out better than she could have dreamed.

In this very unique picture book we meet a little girl who discovers that there is nothing wrong with finding new ways to celebrate a beloved holiday. Not only that, but the new traditions can be just as wonderful as the old ones that are so comfortable, reassuring and familiar. Best of all, the little girl is able to develop a special bond with her aunt as she shares the Hanukkah Moon with her.