Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Miracle of Hanukkah in The Horn Book

The Miracle of Hanukkah, by Seymour Chwast

Telling the story of the Maccabees’ revolt when the Syrian king tried to force them to worship Zeus, Chwast uses his clean, simple style to great effect. Employing a series of nested flaps, each larger than the previous one, he tells the story in easy-to-follow chunks. The temple stands steadfastly in the background while the plot thickens, the flaps get larger, and the central characters take up more space in the foreground. As the battle ends, the flaps give way to two full-size spreads showing the inside of the temple as the Maccabees celebrate their victory. Chwast’s basic brown and blue outlines reveal a subtle humor, while a wide-ranging palette of flat colors harmoniously fills in the scenes. The endpapers show Hanukkah’s ubiquitous dreidel, but Chwast’s straightforward storytelling gets to the true heart of the holiday. LOLLY ROBINSON

--The Horn Book, November/December 2006

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