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November 29, 2012 Edition

Amazing Peace

Written by Maya Angelou
Illustrated by Steve Johnson Lou Fancher

Luminous pictures accompany Angelou’s poem which was written for the 2005 White House treelighting ceremony. Readers follow the cold, snowy opening words through a vaguely threatening landscape where a family makes its way towards town. As the poem gradually warms, so do the images, until the family gathers with many others from the community in a celebration of peace and brotherly love. The illustrations are truly lovely – a combination of fabric and both oil and acrylic paints create a textured and whimsically detailed set of images. This book includes a CD of Maya Angelou reading her poem.

The Gifts

Written by Regina Fackelmayer
Illustrated by Christa Unzner

Mia is nearly ready for Christmas – she’s got gifts for her dog, her cat, and herself, plus a nice turkey for Christmas dinner. But she hasn’t got a tree! She bought one, but when she stopped to help an old man who slipped and dropped all his packages, it somehow got left behind. And when she went back out to look for it, Mia only finds a small boy crying over a lost hat. Mia gives him her new hat and goes back home to Murphy and Mopp, but Christmas isn’t the same without a tree. Then there’s a knock at the door… Beautifully soft and ethereal pictures perfectly mirror the gentle (but not smarmy) text.

The Hanukkah Hop

Written by Erica Silverman
Illustrated by Steven D'Amico

This bouncy rhyming book tells the story of Rachel, her parents, and their first-ever Hanukkah Hop party. From the party preparations to the very end, Rachel dances and shimmies, bops and hops, sometimes by herself, but mostly with the many friends and relatives who come for the party (and stay, exhausted, for the night). Candles are lit, dreidels are spun, stories are told, and latkes are consumed by the plateful, but it’s the songs that the klezmer band plays that gets everyone up and exuberantly dancing. The only thing this delightful story is missing is a CD of music to dance along to!

The Golem’s Latkes

Written by Eric Kimmel
Illustrated by Aaron Jasinski

When Rabbi Judah goes to visit the emperor, he leaves his maid with lots to do to get ready for Hanukkah and a handy golem to help. But he cautions Basha not to leave the house while the golem is working because the golem doesn’t know when to stop. Happy to have help, Basha agrees and sets the golem to work mopping floors. They work together mopping, sweeping, and dusting, until all that’s left to do is make latkes. And Basha makes a mistake: she sets the golem to making latkes and goes to visit a friend. When the rabbi tries to get home, the streets are clogged with latkes! What can he do but invite all of Prague to his Hanukkah party? (Happily, the emperor himself brings the applesauce and sour cream.)

Cowboy Christmas

Written by Rob Sanders
Illustrated by John Mander

Would Santy Claus come if you were a cowboy out on the range at Christmas? What if you only had a cactus for a Christmas tree and baked beans for cookie sprinkles? Dub, Dwight, and Darryl, the three hardworking cowboys in this story try to make Christmas out of what they’ve got, but it just isn’t right. Just when they’re certain they’re out of luck where gifts and treats are concerned, Santa finds a way to make sure they all have a great Christmas (and real cookie sprinkles!). Colorful pictures with an old-fashioned feel make this a special treat.

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