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Publisher: Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 2015
Material: hard cover
Summary: Rachel Rosenstein loves about Christmas. The decorations, Santa, all of it. Yet she always felt left out. Try as she might, Rachel couldn't persuade her family to decorate for Christmas. They were celebrating Hanukkah. Just before Christmas, Rachel wrote Santa, asking him to visit. On Christmas Eve, Rachel decorated for Santa, set out some latkes, and stayed awake as long as she could hoping to hear the reindeer's hooves on the roof. What gifts would Santa give her? This seasonal picture book helps young readers understand differences of faith, celebration, and even jealousy.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 8; read yourself: 8 to 10
Interest Level: 3 and Up
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: Rachel is adorable. Readers will instantly connect with her feelings, from excitement to disappointment, to acceptance. Family, faiths, and customs all share the spotlight and celebrate the things that transcend Christmas: family and friends. We celebrate Christmas in our family, and I will add this to our holiday bookshelf as a reminder of the true meaning of the season. I do wish that it hadn't ended with kids walking down the street with big packages. It undermines the presentation on previous page of acceptance and different faiths by focusing on the commercialism, not why Christians celebrate Christmas.
Pros: Children of all faiths and ages can celebrate their season with this wonderful, joyous picture book.
Cons: Don't be surprised if your child wants to imitate Rachel's dad (despite the "don't try this at home" warning).
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is a sweet story that as Christmas nears, is likely to be requested multiple times.
Educational Themes: This is a seasonal story that begs to be shared with children of different faiths. Expand a child's understanding of different faiths by sharing information about them and/or the foods that are customary to the celebration.
Notes: The publicist donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.