Neigh! Oink! Bah! Whimsical farm animals leave presents for Bubbe during Hanukkah. What will Bubbe do with these thoughtful gifts?
"This short board book combines Hanukkah, counting and guessing. For seven nights, a different animal knocks on Barnyard Bubbe’s door, letting her know it left her an item. We see only the animals’ foot as it knocks, and we see the word for the sound it makes. 'KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK/On the first night of Hanukkah, what did Barnyard Bubbe see?/One sack of meal./ ‘Oh, my. Who has left this for me?’ The next night, she receives two cups of oil, and so forth, until the eighth night, when she combines all the ingredients to make latkes. On the last two pages, she and each of the animals hold a plate with the latkes. It’s a fun read-aloud, and little ones will enjoy guessing which animal makes each of the sounds." — Washington Post on Parenting Blog—Blog
"'On the first night of Hanukkah, / what did Barnyard Bubbe see? / One sack of meal. / "Oh, my. Who has left this for me?"' A hoof in the illustration and a neigh in the text hint at the answer; on the next night (and on the facing page), two cups of oil are left with an oink, and we're off. The pattern, with animal sounds as well as knock knock knocks and the like, invites noisy audience participation in this delicious counting book. Illustrations focusing on the door where the gifts arrive give way to the cheerful reveal: the whole mishpachah, er, menagerie enjoying Bubbe's latkes."—The Horn Book Magazine—Journal
10 great holiday-season books to enjoy with your little ones
The season of all seasons is upon us. And these children's books about Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and wintertime are just what we need to slow down, cuddle up and entertain and enlighten our little ones.
"Kugel for Hanukkah?" by Gretchen M. Everin; illustrated by Rebecca Ashdown (Kar-Ben)
A little girl celebrates the eight nights of Hanukkah with her family, and each night brings a surprise — although not the one she's hoping for. The tone is set early on: "I lit the shamash and the first candle. Grandma said the blessing. Then we feasted on crispy potato latkes with sweet applesauce." Her grandmother gets a gift of candied cranberries; the little girl, wanting a pet, instead gets a lamp. Each night the family lights another candle, eats more latkes (made with various ingredients and toppings), and the grandmother and girl each open a gift. At the end, the grandmother combines all her gifts to make the girl's favorite treat — kugel (noodle casserole, traditionally eaten during Passover). Later, we see that each of the child's gifts relates to the surprise she receives on the last night: a new pet. Bright, cheerful illustrations pair with the sweet story.
"My Family Celebrates Kwanzaa," by Lisa Bullard; illustrated by Constanza Basaluzzo (Lerner)
This festive, engaging book, organized into informational chapters, begins: "Hi! I'm Kevin. We're getting ready for Kwanzaa." From there, he explains how his family prepares for the holiday, followed by definitions of key terms, a history of the holiday and how the family celebrates. He says: "Somebody new lights the candles each night. I watch closely so I'm ready for my turn." Back pages provide further details, including components of the celebration and explanations, such as "Families celebrate Kwanzaa in many ways. Some families drink juice from a special unity cup." A question-and-answer page and glossary offer expanded learning.
"Barnyard Bubbe's Hanukkah," by Joni Klein-Higger and Barbara Sharf; illustrated by Monica Gutierrez (Kar-Ben)
This short board book combines Hanukkah, counting and guessing. For seven nights, a different animal knocks on Barnyard Bubbe's door, letting her know it left her an item. We see only the animals' foot as it knocks, and we see the word for the sound it makes. "KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK/On the first night of Hanukkah, what did Barnyard Bubbe see?/One sack of meal./ 'Oh, my. Who has left this for me?' " The next night, she receives two cups of oil, and so forth, until the eighth night, when she combines all the ingredients to make latkes. On the last two pages, she and each of the animals hold a plate with the latkes. It's a fun read-aloud, and little ones will enjoy guessing which animal makes each of the sounds.
"Grover's Hanukkah Party," by Joni Kibort Sussman; illustrated by Tom Leigh (Kar-Ben)
A smiling, familiar face from Sesame Street leads readers in counting the many parts of Hanukkah — all of which add up to eight. "Hanukkah is the holiday of 8," reads a page, with the numbers one through eight brightly depicted underneath. Eight also refers to the number of items on Grover's grocery list, the time for the party to start, the number of friends and so on. Various Sesame Street characters make appearances in this short yet upbeat holiday book.
"Barnyard Bubbe makes latkes and applesauce out of the ingredients delivered by her farm-animal friends.This board book invites readers to play two simultaneous guessing games: Which animal has left each food item, and why are they leaving them at Barnyard Bubbe's door? On each night of Hanukkah, Barnyard Bubbe discovers different gifted food, and each night she asks, 'Oh, my. Who has left this for me?' It's a mystery to the readers, too, save the swish of a chicken's tail, for example, which is accompanied by the word 'Bwak.' The final double-page spread reveals the culmination of the animals' gifts and Barnyard Bubbe's hard work: those latkes with applesauce, of course. Klein-Higger and Sharf's text follows a repeated, rhyming pattern that is largely successful until it falls apart on the last two pages. There is no inclusion of the religious aspects of Hanukkah, and the only related symbol is the menorah at the end. Gutierrez's Bubbe looks the part of a stereotypical white grandmother, down to the apron and granny glasses. The illustrations vary little except for the changing animal part, limiting engagement in Barnyard Bubbe's world. The anthropomorphized animals at the end are cute enough but lackluster. Overall, a sweet, secular book for Hanukkah. Formulaic but fun."―Kirkus Reviews—Journal
Joni Klein-Higger is an award-winning children's book author, songwriter, and musical theater playwright. Joni's songs have been featured in motion pictures, and her children's songs and musicals can be frequently heard in schools across the country. Joni lives in Tampa Bay, Florida.
Barbara Sharf is a children’s book author and actor who loves writing fun, quirky picture books. Her love for animals frequently shines through in her work. Just ask her dog, Sophie! Originally from Philadelphia, Barbara now lives in Tampa Bay, Florida. This is her first children’s book.
Monica Gutierrez has been drawing since she was little. She loves building bridges with children through her illustrations. She lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina.