All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah

All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
September 11, 2018
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Acclaimed author Emily Jenkins (A Greyhound, a Groundhog) and Caldecott Award-winning artist Paul O. Zelinsky (Rapunzel) bring the beloved All-of-a-Kind Family to life in a new format. Fans, along with those just meeting the five girls ("all of a kind," as their parents say), will join them back in 1912, on the Lower East Side of NYC, and watch as preparations for Hanukkah are made. When Gertie, the youngest, is not allowed to help prepare latkes, she throws a tantrum. Banished to the girls' bedroom, she can still hear the sounds and smell the smells of a family getting ready to celebrate. But then Papa comes home and she is allowed out--and given the best job of all: lighting the first candle on the menorah.

First published in 1951, Taylor's chapter books have become time-honored favorites, selling over a million copies and touching generations of readers. In this time when immigrants often do not feel accepted, the All-of-a-Kind Family gives a heartwarming glimpse of a Jewish immigrant family and their customs that is as relevant--and necessary--today as when it was first written. Jenkins and Zelinsky's charming compliment to Taylor's series perfectly captures the warmth and family values that made the original titles classics.

Editor review

1 review
Latkes are dangerous to make.
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
It's Hanukkah on New York's Lower East Side in 1912. Young Gertie, who is four, is very excited about all of the preparations that her parents and four older sisters are making. Making latkes is especially intriguing, since they are made only once a year. Gertie wants to help, but the others tell her it is too dangerous and she should read her library books instead of trying to help out. Angry, she goes to the next room to hide, thinking they will be sorry they ignored her, but no one comes. Eventually, Papa comes looking for her and takes her out to the family celebration to eat the delicious latkes.
Good Points
This simple story is a good introduction to the classic Sydney Taylor All-of-a-Kind Family (1951) middle grade books, which were some of the first books about Jewish children that reached a main stream audience. Today, there is a Sydney Taylor book award for contributions to Jewish children's literature. These books showcased the daily life and celebrations of a family in an immigrant neighborhood in New York City in the early 1900s and were some of my favorites when I was young-- they were sort of the equivalent of The Brady Bunch when it came to positive and fun depictions of a large family.

The story is simple and easy to follow, and the notes at the back are helpful in understanding so of the concepts of the time, as well as the history of the series. Zelinsy's drawings, while vastly different from the Joe and Beth Krush illustrations in the original books with all of their fine-line details, depict the era well. The family's apartment is clearly laid out, and made sense for the first time to me-- of course it was just two rooms! The colors are happy, and the sense of movement and joy comes through the rough outlined shapes.

All-of-a-Kind Hanukkah is a great addition to a collection of holiday books, and also a good way to develop an interest in a classic series. Give this one to readers who love Little House on the Prairie early reader novels, American Girl books, or historical fiction picture books.
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