ZIGAZAK: A Magical Hanukkah Night. By Eric Kimmel, illustrated by Jon Goodell.
For ages 4-10
Not every Hanukkah tale explains the origins of the holiday.
For instance, “Zigazak” tells not of the lamp oil lasting for eight nights, but of a different sort of magic.
This tale follows the misadventures of two devils as they descend upon the village of Brisk on the first night of Hanukkah.
The devils play pranks: Dreidels dance about on their own and latkes fly through the air. The scared villagers run to the wise rabbi in search of help and counsel.
The rabbi shows no fear, but delights in the merriment of dancing dreidels and flying latkes. He offers to free the devils from evil and help them become servants of good. When they refuse, he outwits and defeats them.
“Zigazak” does not shy away from a moral. The rabbi explains that there are sparks of goodness in all things, even in devils’ tricks.”
This knowledge helps the townspeople see the wonder around them and enjoy the most magical Hanukkah ever. Even with the dark palette, though, the expressive illustrations keep the tale brisk and fun.
This is easily the most imaginative Hanukkah book I have ever read and makes for great fun throughout the holiday.
McGeath Freeman is a columnist for Lowcountry Parent. Send email to editor@lowcountry parent.com.