Hanukkah Story That’s Great for 3-6 Year Olds

Book Cover for Maccabee! The Story of HanukkahWhile this may look like some kind of crazy, action hero version of the Hanukkah story, don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Tilda Balsley does an amazing job of distilling the Hanukkah story for the 3 to 6 set. With rhyming text, we learn the story behind the Festival of Lights. Antiochus, Mattathias and his five sons, and the re-dedication of the temple are all part of the story. Though it does get a little hokey in places, this is the first story that I’ve seen that gives a good background to why Hanukkah is celebrated and the history behind it. Balsley’s approach and Harrington’s illustrations are less lesson or lecture style and much more storytelling.

Maccabee! The Story of Hanukkah by Tilda Balsley, illus. by David Harrington; Kar-Ben Publishing; 7.95; Ages 3-6

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Celebrate Hanukkah with these Great Books

Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel, by Amy Cartwright; Price Stern Sloan 2010; $7.99; Ages 3 and up

You and your young one will enjoy this book set to the words of the familiar holiday song. The letters on the dreidel are incorporated into the colorful illustrations. The end of the book includes a pop-up surprise: three children playing with a dreidel that spins as you open and close the book.

Hanukkah: a Counting Book, by Emily Sper; Scholastic, Cartwheel Books 2001; $6.99; Ages newborn – 6

Count the lights of the menorah with this colorful and informative counting book. Each page shows one more candle through the stenciled pages with Hebrew and Yiddish translations of the numbers. Candles are displayed in order from right to left. Opposite pages include images of jelly doughnuts, elephants, Maccabees and other Hanukkah fair. At the end of the book is the story of Hanukkah. Great for the littlest celebrators with lots to look at and sturdy pages.  Great for those who are a little older and more aware of the tradition.

Eight Winter Nights: A Family Hanukkah Book, by Laura Krauss Melmed; Chronicle Books 2010; $16.99; ages 3-6

As Hanukkah approaches, a family prepares by pulling out and polishing the menorah. As each Hanukkah night goes by, they light the candles. One night they play dreidel; another they sing; another they are waiting for relatives to visit; all told in ryhming verse:

It’s so hard to wait
’til the cousins arrive
to help light the candles
on night number five

Pastel illustrations add to the text and the end of the book includes the story of Hanukkah and an explanation of some Hanukkah symbols. An awesome book to add to your Hanukkah collection.