Why is Chanukah?

Designed to be read aloud to children from three to eight years old, Why Is Chanukah? is a delightful retelling of the Old Testament story of the Maccabees, how they overcame their brutal Syrian rulers, and why Jews still celebrate this victory by lighting candles during the holiday of Chanukah.

The story is told in the form of a lighthearted, rollicking, Seuss-like poem, originally written for teachers who read it aloud during the winter holidays for several years at an Early Childhood Education daycare center. The children, from diverse backgrounds and families of all faiths, were fascinated and begged to hear it again and again, as children do with their favorite tales.

Despite the endearing simplicity of the illustrations, all details of clothing, spears, lamp, and so on, are historically accurate. One of the added attractions is the way the illustrations of menorahs for consecutive nights are placed, so that if the pages are rapidly flipped, it appears that the candles are relighting themselves in increasing numbers. To help readers field questions that will invariably pop up (or just to satisfy their own curiosity), at the back of the book they will find two pages of explanations and pronunciations.