From an imaginative team come a new larger-than-life holiday hero who brings Hanukkah wonder and generosity to anyone in need!
Nate Gadol is a great big spirit with eyes as shiny as golden coins and a smile that is lantern bright. He can make anything last as long as it is needed, like a tiny bit of oil that must stretch for eight nights, a flower that needs to stay fresh to cheer up someone ailing, or a small lump of chocolate that grows to allow the Glasers to treat their children over the holiday and, during a harsh winter when medicine is needed more than sweets, spurs them to share what little they have with the O’Malleys. In this charming holiday hybrid story, well-known children’s author and editor Arthur A. Levine pairs with award-winning illustrator Kevin Hawkes to offer a mythical, magical take on the way Jewish families came to give and receive gifts over Hanukkah, just as their Christian neighbors do at Christmas, thanks to a loving spirit named Nate Gadol working behind the scenes—together with a certain jolly old soul.
Arthur A. Levine has been a children’s book editor for more than thirty years. He is also the author of many acclaimed picture books for children, including What a Beautiful Morning, illustrated by Katie Kath, and The Very Beary Tooth Fairy, illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen. He had his own eponymous imprint at Scholastic Press and has published many of the most exceptional children’s titles of all time, including J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, Shaun Tan’s The Arrival, and Peggy Rathmann’s Officer Buckle and Gloria.
Kevin Hawkes is the illustrator of many books for children, including the best-selling Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen and Weslandia by Paul Fleischman. Kevin Hawkes lives with his family in southern Maine.
Hawkes uses richly textured acrylic paints and eye-popping swirls of gold to create illustrations that are at once grounded and otherworldly...A new, entertaining, and thoughtful addition to the Hanukkah canon.
The giant spirit Nate Gadol is larger than life in every sense of the word; his last name even means big! His name is also a playful take on the phrase associated with the Hanukkah spinning top, or dreidel...readers will be charmed by the book's mythological feeling, which is enhanced by Hawkes' painterly illustrations.
Hanukkah isn’t Jewish Christmas, so why do some American Jewish kids get presents for the holiday? Levine answers by creating a new mythic character, “great big spirit” Nate Gadol, whose name recalls the first half of the sentence symbolized by the letters on the dreidel: nes gadol hayah sham
(“a great miracle happened there”). Drawn by Hawkes as radiantly dashing in a Revolutionary War–era waistcoat, Nate has a special talent: as an answer to prayer, “He made things last as long as they needed to.” ... this visually stunning “supplementary mythology,” as Levine writes in an author’s note, seeks to “enhance our experience without changing the religious observance and meaning of Jewish holidays.”
Mr. Hawkes’s pictures for this inviting tale have sweep and warmth, with rich coloring and touches of gold that give even scenes of chilly privation a sumptuous appearance. In an afterword, Mr. Levine writes of his desire to expand the ‘wonderful supplementary mythology’ of stories connected with the celebrations of Christmas and Hanukkah. It is an ambition achieved in this delightful book.
—The Wall Street Journal