Win a Winner!
Writers & Photographers
Berlitz Summer Camp
by Ronna Mandel
By Deborah Bodin Cohen, illustrated by Shahar Kober
Kar-Ben; $17.95 hardcover, $7.95 paperback; ages 5-9
In Engineer Ari and the Hanukkah Mishap readers will be taken for an unusual ride, from Jerusalem to Jaffa in Israel. Enlightening young readers about this particular railway, dating back more than 100 years, this story is more than just a train tale. It’s also about friendship and miracles.
What works here is the beautiful blending of artwork, narrative, culture, information and entertainment. Engineer Ari is trying to get home to Jaffa to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah with friends Jessie and Nathaniel. He’s all ready with an armload of packages including dreidels, a hanukkiah, a bottle of oil, a bag of Turkish coins and some sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts). A glossary in the front of the book defines words children might not be familiar with, and the story of Hanukkah is subtly conveyed by children Ari meets on his way to the station.
On board the train Ari can almost taste Nathaniel’s potato latkes and hear Jessie singing the Hanukkah blessings, but he will have to wait. Coming around a bend, Ari spots a camel relaxing on the tracks and must make an emergency stop, causing his caboose to derail.
Kalil, a Bedouin with long robes and a shepherd’s staff, comes to help Ari remove the stubborn camel, offering assistance and friendship. As the sun sets and the two men wait in a desert tent for help to arrive, Ari misses the chance to celebrate Hanukkah’s first night with his old friends, but is blessed to share the Festival of Lights with a new friend.
Ronna also recommends …
• The Worst Twelve Days of Christmas, written by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, illustrated by Ryan Wood; Abrams, $15, ages 4-8.
• The Adventures of TinTin: The Black Island, written and illustrated by Hergé; Little, Brown and Company, $8.99, ages 8 and up.
• Christmas in the Mouse House, by Maggie Kneen; Templar Books, $14.99, ages 3 and up.
Find more reviews of children’s book on the “Good Reads With Ronna” blog at LAParent.com.
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Cool Baseball Necklace|
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