The Kvetch Who Stole Hanukkah

The Kvetch Who Stole Hanukkah

Bill Berlin and Susan Isakoff Berlin, authors

Peter J. Welling, illustrator

Pelican Publishing Company, Fiction, Sept. 2010

Suitable for: Ages 5-8

Themes:  Hanukkah,  Jewish Fiction, Rhyme

Opening: In the town of Oyville, in a land far away, the children prepared for each holiday.  They read about Passover and the Red Sea parting. They learned of Rosh Hashanah and the New Year starting.  But the holiday that tickled every Vicki, Max and Monica, was the Festival of Lights in the season of Hanukkah.  They liked the presents, the food, and the cheer; They liked the night when the family drew near.  They picture Judah Maccabee, his bravery and toil.  They imagined the Temple, it lights needing oil.  When the menorah shone bright, its message was clear: “A great miracle happened here.”  Not everyone in Oyville liked the celebration of Hanukkah.  Every year the town Kvetch (someone who is gloomy and complains) hated the holiday even more.  The Kvetch steals all the menorahs on the first night of Hanukkah until three children teach him the true meaning of the festival of lights.

Why I like this book:  Although it is reminiscent of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, this really is a book that both Jewish and non-Jewish children will enjoy.  Written in verse, it is filled with clever  Yiddish terms like latkes, dreidels, gelt and the kvetch.  The book is simple and Welling’s illustrations are colorful and quirky.  And it carries a profound universal message.  There are many Hanukkah books in print, but I found this one a lot of fun!   Hanukkah begins at sundown on December 20 and ends December 28.

Activity:  Visit  and for activities and resources.   For more books with resources please visit Perfect Picture Books.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

20 thoughts on “The Kvetch Who Stole Hanukkah

  1. You are in good company, Anastasia Suen blogged about this book today. Sounds like a fun way to learn more about Hanukkah and some Jewish culture. I love the inclusion of Yiddish words and have always loved the sound of the word ‘Kvetch’!


  2. I’m so glad someone selected a Hanukkah book, and this one looks really fun. (I have another on my list, maybe for next week, but I’m having trouble finding it!) What a great way for Jewish children to celebrate, and for non-Jewish children to learn something about another faith’s celebration. Thanks for sharing!


    • Susanna, I’m glad you liked the selection. I liked the book, but checked some reviews from Jewish families to see how it was received. Some commented on the fact that Christian kids had the Grinch, Rudolph, Twas’ the Night Before Christmas and many fun books written about their tradition. Now, they had a fun book to share with their kids about their tradition.


    • Tracy, thank you. I am glad the title hooked you. Read some comments from Jewish parents who said that Christiank kids had Rudolph, the Grinch, Prancer and so on, but there were no fun stories with a message for their tradition. Think they enjoyed the book as much as their kids. Thanks for stopping.


  3. I wish that this book was around when my children were young enough to appreciate it. I like the substitution of “Kvetch” for Grinch. It’s nice to have more choices, so that children will join in the spirit of the holidays!


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