Saturday, December 6, 2008

Holiday tales

The Trees of the Dancing Goats, by Patricia Polacco
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, c1996.
ages: 5 - 8

One Candle, by Eve Bunting
[New York] : Joanna Cotler Books, c2002.
ages: 8 - 10

The Power of Light, by Isaac Basheivis Singer
New York : Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1980.
ages: 9 - 12
out of print, but available used or at the library

The Trees of the Dancing Goats, by Patricia Polacco, is a wonderful holiday story about Patricia Polacco's childhood, and the year that all her neighbors came down with Scarlet Fever. The young narrator's family celebrates Hanukkah, following her Russian grandparents' traditions. But when they realize that their neighbors won't be able to celebrate Christmas because they are so sick, they cut down many small Christmas trees, decorate them and bring them to their neighbors' houses. It's a lovely tale of friendship, sharing and community.

One Candle, by Eve Bunting, is a soft, powerful tale that is very evocative for me - telling the story of the grandmother's memories of surviving the Holocaust. My favorite sentence is when the narrator answers the question, Why does Grandma want to do this every year: "But I think it has to do with being strong in the bad time and remembering it in the good time." While it discusses the Holocaust, it's a good introductory book, never naming the concentration camps as such, but talking about it as a bad time. ...

The Power of Light, by Isaac Basheivis Singer, is a collection of eight stories for Hanukkah. I especially love the title story in this collection, "The Power of Light". It tells the story of a teenage girl and boy who are caught in the Warsaw Ghetto, hiding in a bombed basement. David forays out and brings back a bit of food and a light for Hanukkah. This gives Rebecca the courage to escape with David to the forests and the partisans who will help them. My favorite line is, "That glimmer of light awakened in us a hope and strength we didn't know we possessed."


  1. Your blog looks great. I like the title. I'm curious how you imported the book covers onto your blog page. They are so clear.

  2. Hi Lisa - I copy them from the Oakland Public Library website - they have book covers as part of their book info. Then I save the .jpg file to my computer, and then upload it into blogger. I have also done the same from publisher's web site.

  3. This looks great! And your book picks are always much appreciated. In particular, I'm intrigued by the Dancing Goats story. For those of us from inter-faith families, this story of different holidays seems appealing.