Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Dear Santa, Love, Rachel Rosenstein, written by Amanda Peet and Andrea Troyer. Illusrated by Christine Davenier. Doubleday Books for Young Readers, Random House. 2015. $20.99 ages 5 and up
celebrate Christmas because
they were Jewish.
Being Jewish was fun
most of the time.
It meant you got to hunt
for the afikomen on
Passover, blow the shofar
on Rosh Hashannah, and
get a present a day for all
eight days of Hanukkah - "
In my first year of teaching, one of my students was Jewish and we, as a class, learned as much as we could about Brian's celebration of the festival of lights. Five-year-olds were pretty impressed that he was to receive a gift for each of the eight days of Hanukkah.
Rachel Rosenstein is not so fond of the idea that she cannot share all of the things she loves about Christmas. In fact when Christmas finally arrives ...
"... Rachel felt like a kid in a candy store without a mouth."
She wants lights, and a Christmas tree, and cookies for Santa's visit. She writes him a letter, visits him at the mall, and provides latkes decorated with chocolate chips to give him the energy he needs to make it through a long night of deliveries. She prepares the house for his visit, does her best to wait up for him, but cannot keep herself awake throughout the long night. How disappointing to discover that Santa has not even stopped at the Rosenstein house!
Her mom does her best to explain and to comfort her daughter before leaving for her job at the hospital on Christmas morning. Her dad fills their day with fun and frolic. At the end of that day, he takes their grandfather and his daughters to their favorite Chinese restaurant for supper. Only when she notices some of her school friends arriving for their own meals does Rachel realize she is not alone in not celebrating Christmas. It is a revelation!
Christine Davenier's artwork, done in watercolor and pen and ink, perfectly matches the lighthearted tone. Energetic and attractive, they enhance the humor that is inherent in this story of wishing and hoping, and finally accepting what is special about each one of us.