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The Extraordinary Dreidel (Paperback)

Children's Books Colour Books

By Devorah Omer, Illustrations by Aviel Basil, Translated by Shira Atik
Imprint: Green Bean Books
Pages: 24
Illustrations: Illustrated throughout
ISBN: 9781784389376
Published: 4th September 2023



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It is Hanukkah, and brother and sister Gil and Nurit have just been given a wooden dreidel made for them by their uncle. The children soon discover just how special this dreidel really is when they uncover its secret, hidden compartment.

Gil and Nurit discuss which of their own things they should hide inside. Gil then decides he will take the dreidel to his school Hanukkah party and offer a prize to the person with the best idea. But when Gil is preparing to leave, the dreidel is nowhere to be found. When he goes to fetch his jacket from the closet, however, he is met with a great surprise!

The Extraordinary Dreidel is a light-hearted, family-focused, informative story for children that will educate them about the festival of Hanukkah and its traditions in a way they can easily comprehend, and that will help them understand their place within the holiday. Aviel Basil’s colourful, eye-catching illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to this enjoyable, meaningful tale.

'Omer’s text, which originally appeared in a compilation of stories (in Hebrew) tells a sweet story of family, Hanukkah, and surprises. [Aviel] Basil’s 50s-inspired illustrations, in shades of orange and green, give the pictures a funky, retro vibe, and the use of different perspectives and pages with no text add to the excitement of finding the dreidel with the adorable kittens inside. Despite the abundance of Hanukkah books, find a place on the shelf for this one that includes some Israel culture, a mystery, and best of all, kittens.’

Association of Jewish Libraries

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I thought this was an excellent book for children and I read the book with my 6 year old daughter and I am not ashamed to admit that I learnt more from the book than I had expected.

The book does a really good job at explaining Jewish history while telling the story – it is done really well and the illustrations really bring the book to life.

This would be an ideal book to have at primary schools. My daughter attends a Catholic school so she was really intrigued to find out more from this book as it covered things she hadn’t learnt yet in school – as a mum I thought it was really informative in a fun way too

The story was well written and the illustrations were cute and we enjoyed the story – it is 5 stars from me for this one – very highly recommended!

NetGalley, Donna Maguire

This would be a great addition to a diverse holidays unit for elementary students or to any library. I loved the plot and the twist at the end -- I didn't see that coming! I love how the plot highlighted the importance of the dreidel and I learned more about the dreidel and Hannukah. I always love to see more Hannukah books and this was no exception. I recommend!

NetGalley, Katy Jones

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The Extraordinary Dreidel is a very sweet story filled with lively and colorful illustrations. It will delight cat lovers and young children. The diverse family is an added bonus. It is a fun holiday read.

NetGalley, Erica Lyons

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I thought this was an excellent book for kids. It does a good job at explaining the Jewish history while telling the story. It would be very informative for students who are not aware of the religion.

NetGalley, Vicky Zblewski

Definitely a different take on a Hanukkah miracle! A quick, lighthearted read about a big dreidel and the furry creatures that find a home inside it.

NetGalley, Megan Cohen

A cute multicultural story showing a family tradition and nostalgic memory.

NetGalley, theresa hulongbayan

Sundown today sees the beginning of Hanukkah for those who celebrate it, and this lovely picture book would make a perfect Hanukkah gift for pre-school/infant age children.

The book has super illustrations from Aviel Basil which support the story about a dreidel with a hidden compartment. As the children debate what they could hide in there, the family pet finds an excellent use for it herself.

It has a delightful ending which children will love.

It would be a great addition to the infant classroom to aid teaching about Judaism and it's festivals.

NetGalley, Annie Elliott

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a lovely picture book about a special dreidel with a hidden compartment and the surprise that is found inside.
A sweet book for Hanukkah.

NetGalley, Suzy Card

A young boy gets a dreidel for Hanukkah with a secret compartment. He is excited to figure out what to put in it, but is delighted by what it ends up holding. I love the art style of this book. It feels somewhat 3D because the background and foreground have different color palettes. I enjoyed reading a book about Hanukkah too as those are harder to find than other winter holidays.

NetGalley, Sarah Voelker

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I received this as an ARC from NetGalley because I was curious about the book. It is a lovely wholesome little tale - although it is aimed at children, I think parents will get a lot out of it too. (I'm not a parent but I am not a child either. I'm an older reader and greatly appreciated the tale a lot.)

The plot revolves around a special dreidel and Hanukkah and the main character's quest to find something to store in the dreidel. I won't reveal what the outcome is because that would spoil everything but it is very very wholesome. I'm also not Jewish and I feel as though I've learnt something from this book (which is a very good thing! I think children will take a lot more from this than even I did.) The illustrations are lovely too and add another layer of wholesomeness to the tale. Just lovely stuff all round.

NetGalley, S S Long

‘This is a very sweet story, telling how Uncle Haim the carpenter made his niece and nephew a wooden dreidel - a very large one - which contained a very special surprise. As the story unfolds, it light-heartedly informs young children of the traditions of the dreidel, by way of the storyline together with eye-catching illustrations. Such a lovely present to give and to receive.’

Hilary Schuman, WLS Review

I’m always looking for new Hanukkah stories. This one is a sweet one about a dreidel and a surprise miracle. Kids will love it.

NetGalley, Destiny Lawyer

A delightful new addition to the Chanukah shelf - two of my grandchildren enjoyed it with me! Always wonderful to see new works to read with our youngest family members - colorful and fun!

NetGalley, Eric Gurvis

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sweet Hanukkah story about a boy with a special dreidel....it has a secret compartment!

He is SO excited to bring to school to show his friends but before the Hanukkah party, it goes missing. He & his family look everywhere for the dreidel and find it in an unusual spot with an even more unusual guest (or guests as it may be).

You'll have to read to find out what happens! 6 year old loved it and perfect for the upcoming season.

NetGalley, Sara Allison

This cute Israeli Hanukkah story begins when a beloved uncle gives the children a very special giant dreidel with a secret compartment. There is a lot of discussion about what they should put inside the dreidel. The story which shows loving relationships within the family and a happy classroom has a sweet twist ending. Aviel Basil's illustrations which paint the characters with bright bold colors, include simple green line drawings for most of the backgrounds. This emphasises the focus on family that is predominant in the story. The artist has also subtly shown the diversity of Jews by giving the family darker skin tones.

Devorah Omer was a renown award winning Israeli children's author who wrote over 100 books during the last century. Shira Atik has done a fantastic job of translating and modernizing this little story. The story was delightful.

NetGalley, Julie Ditton

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a fun Chanukah story with an unexpected twist. Colorful illustrations make the story even more enjoyable. Can’t wait to get this beautiful story for my grandchildren, now that it’s almost Chanukah.

NetGalley, Bozhena Levine

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book was very cute! I really enjoyed using it in my classroom with my students as part of our study of different religious holidays.

NetGalley, Leslie Welsh

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I love this sweet book! It’s not teaching people about Hanukkah, it’s for an audience who already knows it. Which I love. The relationship within the family is wonderful. Which I love. The relationship between the student and his classmates and teacher is wonderful. Which I love. And, there’s a lovely twist at the end. Which I love. I can’t wait to get copies of this and share them as Hanukkah gifts.

NetGalley, Amy London

A feel good story that teaches all the meaning and spirit of Hanukkah. Well written.

NetGalley, Mary Cummins

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Loved this story. Uncle gives his niece and nephew a special dreidel with a large secret compartment. There’s much discussion about what to hide in it. The conclusion was cute and sweet. Great illustrations.

NetGalley, Susan Fryman

About Devorah Omer

Devorah Omer (1932–2013) was born in Kibbutz Maoz Haim in 1932. Completing her studies in 1952, she went on to become a teacher, which was when she began to write books. In her lifetime, she wrote and adapted more than 100 books for children and young people, which have been translated into many languages. 
She received a great number of awards for her work, including the Ministry of Education Prize in 1973, the Ministry of Education Prize for Lifetime Achievement in 2005 and the Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement in 2006. Her books also won her the Book Publishers Association's Gold and Platinum Awards on several occasions. She is one of the most prolific and popular children’s authors ever to come out of Israel. Devorah Omer died in Israel at the age of 80.

About Aviel Basil

Aviel Basil graduated from Shenkar College of Design in Tel Aviv with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. He currently works and lives in Tel Aviv. Since graduating in 2011, Aviel has illustrated more than 50 children’s books which have been published in Israel. He won a silver medal for his first book in the Israel Museum 2012 award for children’s book illustration. He has also illustrated for magazines, advertisements and worked on character and background designs for apps and animations. His style is inspired by 50s illustration and he loves to use a bright and colourful palette.

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