Zigazak!: A Magical Hanukkah Night, by Eric Kimmell and John Goodell

August 17, 2010 at 1:18 am Leave a comment

Zigazak!: A Magical Hanukkah Night
by Eric A. Kimmel and John Goodell
(Hardcover without dustjacket, 30 pages, 2001, ISBN: 038590004X, $18.00)

ZigazakA wonderful tale for young readers about two devils that fly over the town of Brisk on a Hanukkah night.

At one house, the devils turn the children’s dreidels into creatures with arms and legs that begin to dance. At the next house they make the latkes rise from the pan and begin flying around the room. The devils continue to make trouble all over the town.

Everyone runs to seek help from the rabbi, a wise and holy man. He is able to turn the tables on the devils and get them to provide Hanukkah gelt (coins) for the children and the poor. The rabbi shows that “Nothing is completely wicked. Sparks of holiness exist in all things. Even in devils and their mischief.” He does this by recognizing what is beautiful and delightful in their tricks and thus making them good. Illustrations.

“In the most imaginative Hanukkah book this season, Kimmel peoples an old-world town with mischievous demons, easily alarmed villagers and a wise and crafty rabbi,” writes Publisher’s Weekly in a review.

“The brio of the storytelling doesn’t shy from a moral: ‘Sparks of goodness exist in all things, even in devils’ tricks.’ Goodell portrays the demons as ugly monsters, the goofy gleam in their eyes only partially dampening their scariness, and his humans are mildly grotesque. A dark palette adds to the shiver-inducing effect.”

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