Review: Dino-Hanukkah


by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Barry Gott

Carolrhoda Publishing (imprint of Lerner Publishing Group), 2023

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Laurie Adler

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Come celebrate with the dinosaurs, as they cheerfully prepare for the holiday and join in familiar Hanukkah fun. This book is the latest addition and the first Jewish holiday featured in the Dino-Holiday series by author/ illustrator team Lisa Wheeler and Barry Gott. In Dino-Hanukkah, the dinosaurs decorate, play dreidel, open presents, and engage in other highly recognizable Hanukkah activities. Wheeler’s rhymes are never forced, and there is a small plot of Allo the Allosaurus waiting patiently for all eight nights till it’s his turn to light the menorah. Gott’s bold and colorful computer-generated illustrations are toddler-friendly and add to the fun; even the T-Rex is affable and unthreatening. Each page conveys action and activity and is full of enough detail for children to find new elements in each reading.

The Dino-Holidays book series is a spin-off from the popular Dino-Sports picture book series. Both feature the same large group of dinosaurs, so young children can follow their favorite characters from one series to the next. The holiday foods referenced in the book, such as brisket, latkes, and kugel, are mostly Ashkenazi Jewish, though this book holds appeal for young children of all different backgrounds and religions. Readers who celebrate Hanukkah will delight in seeing their familiar dino-friends mirroring their own experiences, such as choosing the just-right color candles to light the menorah. Dino-Hanukkah is a joyful, rhyming romp of a book for the youngest celebrants.

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Reviewer Laurie Adler is a librarian who has been connecting children with just-the-right-books for over two decades.