Cover image for The magic menorah : a modern Chanukah tale
The magic menorah : a modern Chanukah tale
Zalben, Jane Breskin.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2001.
Physical Description:
56 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Stanley does not look forward to spending another Chanukah with all his relatives, but when an old man comes out of a tarnished menorah in the attic and grants Stanley three wishes, he changes his mind.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.1 1.0 61052.
Added Author:
Format :


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X Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday
X Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday
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Stanley dreads Chanukah.He hates having to clean the house, grate mounds of potatoes, and deal with a bunch of noisy, nosy, pushy relatives. He'd much rather live like a rock star and do whatever he wants wheneverhewants to do it.Stanley gets his wish when he uncovers a tarnished, antique menorah, begins to rub the schmutz off of it, and discovers a genie named Fishel.Fishel, who looks more like a haggard old man than any genie Stanley ever heard of, grants him three wishes. Finally! Stanley will get the fame and fortune he's always wanted.But why does Fishel insist on taking Stanley back in time to grant a wish? What do people who lived in the 1930s have to do with Stanley now?In this heartwarming holiday story, Jane Breskin Zalben shows us the strength of family and what being happy is really all about.

Author Notes

Jane Breskin Zalben was born in New York City, where she attended the High School of Music and Art. She received a B.A. in art from Queens College, and then went on to study lithography at the Pratt Graphics Center. She is a well-known author and illustrator who has published about fifty books for young readers.

Jane's began her career as a graphic designer and worked for several New York publishing houses, including Scribner's, where she was the art director of children's books. A book designer as well as an artist, she is as concerned with type and layout as she is with illustration.

Ms. Zalben has been involved in many workshops, including "A Sense of Wonderment: Children's Book Illustration" at the Heckscher Museum in Huntington, New York, and exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Justin Schiller Gallery (where she was given a show of her work along with Maurice Sendak), Every Picture Tells a Story, Elizabeth Stone Gallery, Bush Gallery, and the American Institute of Graphics Art Show.

Jane was a writer/artist-in-residence at Vassar's Publishing Institute and was on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts in New York City for eighteen years, where she taught courses in the illustration, design, and writing of children's books. She was a recent chair of the Society of Illustrator's The Original Art Exhibition.

Zalben's acclaimed picture books and novels explore basic issues of friendship, family, self-reliance, and inner strength. Beni's First Chanukah, the first in a series of Jewish Holiday books for children, was inspired by and dedicated to her sons, Alexander and Jonathan.

Jane Breskin Zalben devotes her time to her work and to traveling around the world lecturing on children's books and encouraging children and aspiring artists and writers.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Zalben (Pearl's Eight Days of Chanukah) serves up a middling holiday story, packaged in chapter-book format with atmospheric line drawings. Stanley rubs a long-neglected menorah to a nice shine and releases Fishel the genie, who grants Stanley three wishes. What ensues teaches Stanley the unsurprising lesson that he already has everything he needs for happiness. To borrow from Fishel's sitcom Yiddish ("So? Nu already? What's it going to be?"), the major ingredient here is schmaltz. Ages 7-10. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-5-Stanley Green, 12, doesn't look forward to Chanukah. Every year his house is overrun with annoying relatives, and his grandfather, who normally tells the best stories, gets quiet and sad. This year turns out to be different, though. Stanley is sent to the attic to get a package for his grandfather. In it, he finds a tarnished old menorah. As the boy cleans it up, a shabby little old man appears, demands a nosh, and offers three wishes if Stanley can answer three riddles. Stanley doesn't get the right answers, but Fishel lets him wish anyway. Of course, each wish turns out far differently than Stanley anticipates. He learns that Fame and Fortune come in many forms, and realizes that Happiness has been his all along. He also learns something about his family history and why his grandfather is so sad at Chanukah. This short, simple chapter book is filled with details about traditions of the holiday. Hebrew and Yiddish words are sprinkled liberally throughout, with a glossary at the end. The realistic illustrations, vignettes with text wrapped around them, nicely support the story. An entertaining read-aloud that could easily be adapted as a play or reader's theater script.-M. A. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One: The Box in the Attic Once upon a time, in a small village not too far from a large shopping mall, there lived a boy named Stanley Green. He had everything in the world a child could ever want or need. And so, since the first night of Chanukah was beginning at sunset that evening, Stanley's parents wondered what more they could possibly give him. As usual, Stanley's relatives were coming. The house always got hot, noisy, and stuffy. Great-Aunt Sophie would give mushy, wet kisses and would pinch his cheeks. Uncle Max would squash him in a bear hug and breathe hot onion breath on his face. When his younger cousins Nathan, Ernie, and Emma came over, they always fought and yelled, and made a mess of all his things. That meant a lot of picking up and cleaning up after them. And Grandpa Abe, who always told the best stories the rest of the year, became quiet and sad during Chanukah. Stanley just wasn't looking forward to the holiday season. Stanley's mother, Mrs. Green, hummed to herself as she covered the dining-room table with Grandma's lace tablecloth and linen napkins. Then she began to prepare for the Chanukah meal. The kitchen buzzed with the sound of mixing and grating. Stanley peeled potato after potato. He grated so many potatoes that his knuckles were almost as raw as the potatoes he had peeled. His mother paused from chopping onions. She opened the kitchen window a bit and breathed in the cool night air. "Ah, those onions are sharp," she said, wiping her eyes as she added the onions to the latke batter. It was heaped high as a mountain in a ceramic bowl. "My tears could fill this bowl," she laughed. As Stanley peeled and grated more potatoes, and applesauce bubbled in a big pot on the stove, his mother suddenly hit her forehead with the back of her hand. "Oh, no! I forgot to buy cinnamon for the applesauce! Stanley, I need you to help out while I run to the corner store." She continued as she put on her coat and gloves. "You know the large trunk in the attic? Inside is an old box covered with lots of foreign stamps. Grandpa Abe asked us to get it out for him this Chanukah. It would be a great help to me if you would do that. The box is from your Great-Uncle Velvel." "Who's Uncle Velvel?" Stanley asked. "Velvel was Grandpa and Great-Aunt Sophie's brother -- back in the old country." "Which old country?" "Romania," his mother answered. "Uh-oh." Stanley thought of werewolves and vampires, and wondered if the box contained fangs, wolfsbane, or soil from the Transylvanian homeland. Stanley's mother gave him a quick peck on the cheek. "I'll be back soon. Dad should be home in about an hour. He's leaving work early tonight." And with those words she disappeared into snowflakes swirling outside. Text copyright © 2001 by Jane Breskin Zalben Excerpted from The Magic Menorah: A Modern Chanukah Tale by Jane Breskin Zalben All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The Box in the Attic
Chapter 2 The Magic Menorah
Chapter 3 The First Wish
Chapter 4 The Second Wish
Chapter 5 Back in Time
Chapter 6 The Third Wish
Chapter 7 Velvel's Story
Chapter 8 Eight Days of Chanukah