Cover image for The dreidel that wouldn't spin : a toyshop tale of Hanukkah
The dreidel that wouldn't spin : a toyshop tale of Hanukkah
Simpson, Martha Seif, 1954-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Bloomington, Indiana : Wisdom Tales, 2014.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations 27 cm
The most beautiful dreidel a shopkeeper has ever seen will not spin for the two children who insist they must own it, but perhaps it would spin for a child with the true spirit of Hanukkah in his heart.
Reading Level:
530 Lexile.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Holiday
J PIC BOOK Juvenile Current Holiday Item Childrens Area-Holiday
J PIC BOOK Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday
J PIC BOOK Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday

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This dreidel doesn t work the father had cried. What do you mean? How can a dreidel not work? the shopkeeper asked. It was certainly the most beautiful spinning top the shopkeeper had ever seen, with magical golden letters on its sides. But it just would not spin for two spoiled children who insisted on owning it Later, the shopkeeper decides to try it one last time: would it spin for another child, one who carried the true spirit of Hanukkah in his heart? In this beautiful holiday story by award-winning author Martha Simpson, and brought to life by the imaginative illustrations of award-winning illustrator D. Yael Bernhard, the happiness and joy of the Hanukkah miracle will warm the heart of young and old alike with its simple message: wonders still occur for those who are ready for them. Included is a useful appendix that explains Hanukkah, and an explanation on how to play the dreidel game."

Author Notes

Martha Seif Simpson is an author and children's librarian. She has served as the Head of Children's Services at the Stratford Library Association in Stratford, CT for the last twenty years. She is the author of five professional books for teachers and librarians. Her first children's book What NOT to Give Your Mom on Mother's Day was released in 2013. She lives in Hamden, CT.D. Yael Bernhard is an award-winning illustrator and author of many fiction and non-fiction books for children, including natural science titles and multicultural folktales. She is also a children's teacher of Hebrew, Judaics, and illustration. Ms. Bernhard is also a fine artist known for her religious and family-themed pieces. She lives in Shandaken, NY.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Contrary to what the title says, the dreidel it mentions will spin-it just won't spin for the spoiled, greedy kids who are its first and second owners. Once it's in the hands of a child "of simple means," who understands that "the miracle of Hanukkah truly could not be bought," the dreidel spins "for several minutes, longer than any dreidel they had ever seen." The colorful drawings by Bernhard (Never Say a Mean Word Again) evoke Judaism's Eastern European past, but overwriting by Simpson, a children's librarian as well as author (What NOT to Give Your Mom on Mother's Day), tends to swamp the otherwise nifty premise. Ages 5-up. Illustrator's agent: Ronnie Ann Herman, Herman Agency. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 2-In this gentle parable, a peddler gives a splendorous Hanukkah dreidel to the greedy owner of a toy shop with the admonishment that "...the miracle of Hanukkah cannot be bought." In turn, the shopkeeper sells the one-of-a-kind dreidel to a wealthy man at a substantial price, but the next day the man and his spoiled daughter return it, demanding their money back because the dreidel will not spin.  A similar scenario ensues with a mother and son who have the same complaint, yet the shopkeeper finds that he can spin the dreidel without trouble. Confused, he puts it away, until a poor man and his son enter the shop, content simply to look at all the wonderful toys. Moved by their humble and gracious manner, the shopkeeper hands the dreidel to the boy, who is able to twirl it for several minutes, causing the message on it to transform from the traditional "A great miracle happened there" to "A small miracle happened here." Folkloric watercolor illustrations in a pale palette are appropriately soft in tone while images of the toys offering their own expressive impressions of the goings-on inject a bit of humor.  A lovely choice for those wishing to circumvent the more commercial aspects of the holiday.-Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.