Hanukkah Bear

hanukkah bear kimmel

Bubba Brayna’s legendary latkes lure an unexpected visitor into her home in this playful Hanukkah tale from a master storyteller.

Bubba Brayna makes the best latkes in the village, and on the first night of Hanukkah, the scent of her cooking wakes a hungry, adorable bear from his hibernation.  He lumbers into town to investigate, and Bubba Brayna—who does not see or hear very well—mistakes him for her rabbi. She welcomes the bear inside to play the dreidel game, light the menorah, and enjoy a scrumptious meal.

However, after her well-fed guest leaves, there's a knock at the door—it's the rabbi, and all of Brayna's other friends, arriving for dinner.  But there are no latkes left—and together, they finally figure out who really ate them.

Lively illustrations by Mike Wohnoutka, portraying the sprightly Bubba Brayna and her very hungry guest, accompany this instant family favorite, a humorous reworking of Eric A. Kimmel’s earlier classic tale, The Chanukkah Guest. A traditional recipe for latkes is included in the back matter, along with interesting, digestible facts about the history and traditions of Hanukkah.

A 2013 National Jewish Book Award Winner, this book is perfect for a holiday story time with children— either in the classroom or at home, as an introduction for young readers to the traditions and customs of Hanukkah, and as a classic to return to year after year.---from the publisher

32 pages                            ‎ 978-0823431694                     Ages 4-8

Keywords: Hanukkah, bear, humor, holiday, Jewish fiction, 4 year old, 5 year old, 6 year old, 7 year old, 8 year old


This one will make you smile.

Bubba Brayna has been preparing for the rabbi’s visit. She’s make latkes (potato pancakes). But Bubba Brayna is 97 years old and can’t see or hear very well.

When a bear bangs on her door, she lets him inand feeds him all the latkes. They play dreidel. They light the menorah. All the time, the bear makes growling noises which Bubba Brayna “interprets”.  At the end of the evening, she gives the bear the scarf she has knitted for the rabbi. The bear responds to Bubba Brayna’s kindness with adorable facial expressions. Wohnoutka does a delightful job illustrating the bear to look similar to Yogi Bear.

After the contented bear leaves, the rabbi and the rest of the congregation come to the door. She realizes with amusement that she had mistaken a bear for the rabbi and all of the latkes are gone. But she has a supply of potatoes in her basement. Everyone pitches in and they make latkes for everyone!

This is a lovely book to read aloud, especially for preschool and grades K-1.

Recommended by:  Janice Davies, School Librarian (Retired), Virginia USA

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