Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Picture Book Review: Engineer Ari and the Hanukkah Mishap
Engineer Ari and the Hanukkah Mishap
Written by: Deborah Bodin Cohen
Illustrated by: Shahar Kober
Published by: Kar-Ben Publishing, 2011
*After reading this book I discovered that it's the third in the Engineer Ari series. There's one about Rosh Hashanah and one about Sukkah. In this story Engineer Ari is getting ready to celebrate Hanukkah with his Engineer friends Nathaniel and Jessie. He's in a rush and carrying all of his packages, including dreidels, sufganiyots (jelly doughnuts), a hanukkiah (menorah) and some oil. He drives his train but isn't paying very much attention and almost hits a camel. Although Ari's okay, his packages fall. A Bedouin comes to help him and they end up celebrating Hanukkah together.
The story takes place in Jerusalem and there are a few references to cities and landmarks which I found informative. I found the story to be forced in some parts to get in the "Hanukkah" explanation. When Engineer Ari sees two boys playing he says, "Tell me who you are." The boys explain that they are King Antiochus and Judah Maccabee and give descriptions of each. And similarly when Ari comes up on two girls playing dreidel he asks, "Can you tell me the letters on your dreidel?" which leads to a description of the meanings. You can tell Cohen is trying to teach readers about Hanukkah it just doesn't seem to flow in the story for me. There's a short glossary in the beginning of the story with words the reader may not be familiar with.
My son who is a big train lover seemed to enjoy this story but overall for the rest of us it was just an okay Hanukkah read.
This book was borrowed from the library.
Family Rating: 1 thumb up.