A Dreidel in Time: A New Spin on an Old Tale

Written by Marcia Berneger
Review by Elizabeth Caulfield Felt

Devorah and Benjamin are eager for presents on the first night of Hanukkah. Before they are allowed to open their gifts, their grandparents give them an odd-looking dreidel and ask them to spin it. The dreidel takes the children back in time to the events that created the Hanukkah celebration—but things aren’t happening as they should. Benjamin and Devorah must use bravery and their knowledge of history if they are to save the Jewish people.

As a person only partially aware of the events of the Hanukkah story, I found this book engaging and educational. It does an excellent job of bringing the events to life and teaching the importance of the Hanukkah tradition without being preachy. The illustrations that appear on the cover and sporadically throughout the text are well-drawn but have a tone I found incongruous. The people are drawn in a light comic fashion that didn’t work for me. Although the book is not heavy or dark, neither is it a humorous tale. Recommended for ages 8 and up, but I believe even younger children would enjoy it being read to them.