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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

An Old Woman swallowing dreidels, oil, latkes and other things, and great artwork. What a special way to start Chanukah.

Today is the beginning of Chanukah, so I decided to review a wonderful book that came my way a few weeks ago. I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Dreidel by Caryn Yacowitz and illustrated by David Slonim.

What a great book for all, but especially for our Jewish friends. The time-honored "There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly," is adapted to items found in Jewish life. The family has gathered for Chanukah when the story begins. We start with "I know an old lady who swallowed a dreidel, A Chanukah dreidel she thought was a bagel, Perhaps it's fatal." Then of course, she had to swallow other items trying to offset the expected effects of swallowing a dreidel. She swallows some gelt, a brisket, some sauce, the latkes, etc. Did she even try to swallow the menorah? Was swallowing the dreidel fatal? You must read the book to find out. You will love the journey.

The beautiful, in every sense of the word, surprise is the artwork that accompanies this tale. The illustrations are parodies of famous artworks from the world over. They are usually hilarious and always true to the original. Everything from the Mona Lisa to The Scream and Christina's World can be found. At least 14 different artists' works are wonderfully parodied by the illustrator, David Slonim. Not just one illustration per artist, but many. One of my favorites, and this was a hard decision, is Van Gogh's full page Starry Night complete with a menorah. For some reason, too, Christina's World also speaks to me. The artist states that he wanted the book to transcend Chanukah and speak to the universal human experience of family gatherings and celebrations. He has succeeded beautifully through great artworks.

I'm so glad I received this book through Goodreads. I've enjoyed it immensely, but tomorrow, the second day of Chanukah I will gift it to my dear Jewish friends to share with their grandchildren. I rather hate to let it go, but in the spirit of my season and their season, I will

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