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|Simon and the bear : a Hanukkah tale|
Author: Kimmel, Eric A.
Stranded on an iceberg on his way to America, Simon remembers his mother's parting words and lights the first candle on his menorah while praying for a miracle, which soon arrives in the form of a friendly polar bear.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 3.20
Points: .5 Quiz: 170598
Kirkus Reviews (+) (09/01/14)
School Library Journal (10/01/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/12/14)
The Hornbook (00/11/14)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 10/01/2014 K-Gr 2—Combining elements of the classic immigrant tale with magical realism and a dash of Titanic, this story follows young Simon as he leaves his family behind in the old country, sailing on a ship to America. Packed in his knapsack are a menorah, candles, a dreidel, and latkes to celebrate Hanukkah during the crossing. When the ship strikes an iceberg on the first night of the holiday, fatherless Simon gives up his seat in a lifeboat to a man whose little boy is waiting for him in New York. As the ship sinks, Simon jumps onto the iceberg where he lights his menorah and hopes for a miracle, "just as one happened for the Maccabees long ago." Suddenly a polar bear appears out of the darkness and pulls itself onto the iceberg, eating the latkes and other food Simon offers her. Over the next several days, it catches fish for Simon and cuddles up with him at night to keep him warm. On the last night of Hanukkah, Simon lights the last of his candles, shares his last latke with the bear, and hopes for one more miracle, which arrives in the form of a rescue boat, sent from a passing ship that has seen his fully lit menorah. The icy dark night is masterfully depicted in a watercolor palette of rich blues punctured by brilliant stars and the warm glow of the candles. The iceberg is given substance and depth by the use of what appears to be folded paper that has been crumpled and painted, while the hefty figure of the polar bear is worked in gouache softened with pastel. With its fine storyteller's language and themes of selflessness and miracles, this is a book that is sure to bring pleasure and meaning to Hanukkah celebrations. An author's note on the history of the holiday is included.—Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.