Five Little Dreidels (Jeffrey Burton)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Five Little Dreidels, written by Jeffrey Burton and illustrated by Juliana Motzko, a lyrical board book that puts a Hanukkah spin (the only pun in this review, I promise) on the classic “Five Little Monkeys” tune.

As five brightly-colored dreidels are spinning and playing, each one faces a slight mishap that puts a stop to the fun, like getting dizzy, tripping, falling down, etc. Mama Dreidel is sure to notify Doctor Dreidel, who advises against further spinning, but these little dreidels cannot be contained. At last, only one dreidel has won the pile of chocolate gelt, but is feeling a bit lonesome… until their dreidel friends return to play.

Festive, but just fine. There’s an equal mix of what works and what doesn’t here – the colorful illustrations, for instance, are a delight, while the bungling, clumsy rhythm and meter are a chore to read aloud. Motzko’s artwork is truly the highlight, featuring accurate Hebrew letters on the dreidels as well as plenty of visual nods to the Hanukkah holiday, like latkes and a menorah. It’s just a shame the text adds so little; the song doesn’t work, and the lyrics don’t provide much in the way of information or plot. The length is fine for a quick storytime, but JJ and I were both pretty unimpressed. Overall, this could be a fun gift for VERY small bookworms, but with a plethora of other – and better – books about dreidel available, I’d give this one a pass.

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to the Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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