Review: Tizzy the Dizzy Dreidel

Tizzy the Dizzy Dreidel

by Allison & Wayne Marks, illustrated by Francesca Assirelli

Kar-Ben Publishing (imprint of Lerner Publishing Group), 2022

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Shanna Silva

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In this rhyming story, poor Tizzy the dreidel has a self-confidence problem, because she gets dizzy when she spins. When the family competes for the longest spin, Tizzy feels she’ll be overlooked and discounted. Kids will identify with the theme of feeling left out. It’s reminiscent of waiting to be picked for a team in gym, and the disheartening feeling of being chosen last. But four-year-old Sara chooses Tizzy and is excited to play the game. Tizzy is thrilled with getting a chance to shine, and she doesn’t want to disappoint. Tizzy spins through the house for the entire eight days of Hanukkah, winning the contest and the respect of her dreidel friends. The gentle lessons of giving the underdog a chance and overcoming fears and self-doubt are good reminders for kids. The booked skews on the younger side of the 4-9 age group, but there will be some vocabulary unfamiliar to little ones. Art adds the context for these words.

The illustrations feature happy, moon faced children in a pleasing soft palette. Assirelli draws movement well, from the spinning dreidels to the plinking piano keys. Facial expressions of all characters are communicated through simple smiley or sad mouths and wide or closed eyes. The family presents as white.

This book contains positive Jewish content in both the story and art. The text mentions a menorah, Hanukkah gelt, latkes and the Maccabees. The back matter offers an abbreviated explanation of the Hanukkah story. Humor adds a nice touch to the rhymes and scenarios. The book is a fun story for children of all backgrounds, and the premise will appeal to readers of all ages.

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Reviewer Shanna Silva is an award-winning author and Broadway producer. She has written three children’s picture books: A Dog’s Guide to Being Human, Hannah’s Hanukkah Hiccups and Passover Scavenger Hunt. Shanna is also the author of over 45 hi/lo books for emerging readers. Her work has been featured in Kveller, Bella Magazine, Twins Magazine, Multiples Illuminated I and II, and Chicken Soup for the Soul. Shanna lives in New York with her family and a meshuggenah sheepadoodle named Drake.