Trisha loves the eight days of Hanukkah, when her mother stays home from work, her Babushka makes delicious potato latkes, and her Grampa carves wonderful animals out of wood as gifts for Trisha and her brother. In the middle of her family's preparation for the festival of lights, Trisha visits her closest neighbors, expecting to find them decorating their house for Christmas.
Instead they are all bedridden with scarlet fever. Trisha's family is one of the few who has been spared from the epidemic. It is difficult for them to enjoy their Hanukkah feast when they know that their neighbors won't be able to celebrate their holiday. Then Grampa has an inspiration: they will cut down trees, decorate them, and secretly deliver them to the neighbors, But what can we decorate them with? Babushka asks. Although it is a sacrifice, Trisha realizes that Grampa's carved animals are the perfect answer. Soon her living room is filled with trees -- but that is only the first miracle of many during an incredible holiday season.
Based on a long cherished childhood memory, this story celebrates the miracle of true friendship
Polacco's familiar medley of bright striped and floral print clothing surrounding friendly pink faces creates a perfect visual counterpart to her well-told, sentimental story. Make sure readers have their hankies ready. (Picture book. 7-9)
Copyright 2009 Kirkus Reviews, LLC Used with permission
Polacco's (Babushka's Doll) warmhearted memoir can easily be pressed into double duty for both Hanukkah and Christmas reading. On the family farm in Michigan, Trisha and Richard watch as Babushka and Grampa prepare for Hanukkah in their native Russian way, hand-dipping the candles, carving the children gifts of little wooden animals, cooking the latkes. When scarlet fever debilitates their neighbors, Trisha's whole family pitches in to make and deliver holiday dinners and Christmas trees (decorated with the children's wooden animals). Polacco's characteristically buoyant illustrations embody the joy of holiday traditions even as her robust storytelling locates the essence of that joy in sharing and friendship. While this work should have broad appeal, it is in particular an excellent choice for families seeking to mingle Jewish and Christian traditions. Ages 5-10. (Nov.)
Copyright 1996 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission