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*Moishe's Miracle: A Hanukkah Story* by Laura Krauss Melmed, illustrated by David Slonim
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Moishe's Miracle: A Hanukkah Story
by Laura Krauss Melmed, illustrated by David Slonim
Ages 4-8 32 pages Chronicle Books September 2005 Paperback    

Moishe is a milk farmer with a heart of gold, always giving a bit of cream or a bottle of milk to the good but poor people of Wishniak. He gives so much of himself that he and his disgruntled wife, Baila, have little left over for themselves.

Baila chews Moishe out over his generosity; she has no money for food or Hanukkah goodies. Moishe goes to sleep with the cows in the barn. The cows love Moishe and tell him that a kind stranger left a gift for him. The gift is a well-used and worn out frying pan, and its magic is meant only for Moishe. The pan can make light, fluffy latkes.

Moishe shows Baila the pan. They have a delicious Hanukkah feast that first night, but Moishe makes certain that they only eat their fill. The next day, Moishe invites the citizens of Wishniak to join him and his wife for latkes. Everyone eats to their heart's content, and everyone is happy - except Baila.

The next morning she sends Moishe away to get more Hanukkah candles. She takes the pan and tries to make some latkes; she wants to sell them to make money. As the cows prophesied, only Moishe can use the pan. Baila's latkes are burned bits that turn into small demons. They frighten her so thoroughly that it took her some time to recover.

From then on, Baila talked sweeter to everyone and helped Moishe out with his dairy farming. Moishe, for his part, started cooking and helping around the house more. A true Hanukkah miracle!

This book, which was a winner of the National Jewish Book Award, has a great sense of humor and of itself. The tale is folksy and fun but not frivolous. Moishe's Miracle is a true miracle of a story for any child and a great addition to any Hanukkah collection that can be read all year round.

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  Deanna Goodson/2006 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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