The Miracle of Hanukkah traces the origins of this religious festival over two thousand years to the present day. Children are introduced to the origins of the story with similarities to Greek mythology where the traditions of Hanukkah are rooted in the campaign of Greek King Antiochus and his quest for power. When the Jewish people refused to bow down to a statue of him and worship Greek Gods, he burned Jerusalem to the ground, killing many people. The golden menorah is lost and most of the oil is spoiled, so the survivors, led by Judah Maccabee, are faced with the impossible task of keeping their temple’s flame burning.
Christopher Corr’s style of illustration here takes on a childlike, almost naïve quality, in keeping with the story. The strokes of gouache on paper are visible and full of vibrant colour and imagery drawn from biblical and mythology stories.
Children will enjoy this retelling of the miracle of Hanukkah and the traditions arising from this event, including placing lit candles in windows, eating fried foods to remember the burning of the oil and children receiving gifts. This book would be a good addition to the classroom or a school library where children are learning about world religions.