Monday, December 31, 2012

Holiday Bop with "The Hanukkah Hop"

Read It. Move It. Share It. 
With so many holidays to celebrate this month, I chose a holiday book -- The Hanukkah Hop -- for dance educator Maria Hanley to use as part of our monthly collaboration. Because I know Maria teaches many of her classes at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan, I thought this would be the perfect book for her to try out in December. When you finish reading this post, you can hop on over to her blog, Maria's Movers, to read how her classes went!

I love that my kindergartner and second grader came home from school this month with projects celebrating so many different holidays. There were holiday word searches, gingerbread houses, a Kwanzaa coloring book, and even a hand-made dreidel!

Bookstores this month were also full of holiday books, including many new ones that were highlighted in a recent article from the Horn Book. If you happen to be looking for Hanukkah books in particular, Margo at The Fourth Musketeer also blogged this month about some of her favorites. I was happy to see The Hanukkah Hop, by Erica Silverman (author) and Steven D'Amico (illustrator), on her list. I bought my copy last year when the book was published, but I did notice that it was on the shelves at the stores again this year.

In the beginning of the book, young Rachel and her family are preparing to host a "Hanukkah Hop" for their extended family -- grandparents, nieces and nephews, great-aunts, second cousins, and friends from near and far. Rachel is getting the streamers ready, Daddy is blowing up balloons, and Mommy is making latkes. As the guests arrive, the party really starts, with plenty of dancing and a traditional Jewish band as a special guest...

The front door opens...
"Yah! Our special guests are here."
And carrying their instruments --
the klezmer band appears!

"Biddy-biddy bim-bom bim-bom bop."
Now we can get stomping at our Hanukkah Hop!"

As the dance party continues, readers will also learn what a menorah is, how to play with dreidels, and the history of Hanukkah -- all to the infectious beat of the text, broken up from time to time by the "biddy biddy him-bom bim-bom bop" refrain. Not all of the rhyme in the book is perfect, but you hardly notice because of the festive nature of the rhythm and of the illustrations, which are full of color, movement, and fine details that will make the book seem fresh on repeat readings.

The book also provides plenty of inspiration for movement. Rachel spins like a dreidel, streamers fall to the ground, balloons pop, and guests wiggle and hop. They also swing, sway, dive, and jump as they enjoy the music of the night. To find out if Maria incorporated any of these elements into her dance classes, you can read her post here.

Near the end of the book, Daddy starts cleaning up dishes, guests start snoozing, and Mommy looks for pillows and blankets to make the sleepy guests more comfortable. And then there is Rachel -- still energized by the music, joy, and spirit of the holiday season and not quite ready to hang up her dancing shoes!

"Biddy-biddy bim-bom bim-bom bop. 
I'm the only one still dancing at our Hanukkah Hop!"

Whether you celebrated Kwanzaa, Christmas, Hanukkah, or none of the above this month, there's still one holiday left that everyone can celebrate together -- New Year's Eve! Hope you fit some great music and lots of dancing into your evening tonight. Wishing you and yours a wonderful start to the new year. Happy holidays!!

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