♦ Sara is celebrating Chanukah with her family when a mysterious relative named Tante Miriam shows up with a special gift: a golden dreidel as big as a book! While everyone else is sleeping, the dreidel turns into a free-spirited girl with golden hair who guides Sara to a magical world through a portal in the television. When Sara arrives in the dreidel girl’s world, she witnesses her new friend being kidnapped by the Demon King and his army. Sara is determined to rescue her, and embarks on a quest to find the dreidel girl. Along the way, Sara meets a cast of characters inspired by Jewish folklore and Hebrew Bible tales, such as The Fool, a peacock, and the Queen of Sheba. While dozens of children’s Chanukah books exist, very few are tailored for chapter book readers. This magical middle grade Chanukah story, a Jewish spin on The Nutcracker, will delight not only fantasy readers, but those who enjoy witty humor and challenging riddles. Non-Jewish readers will also enjoy learning all about the significance and rules of how to play the popular Chanukah game of dreidel. Fans of fantasy classics like Coraline, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and The Phantom Tollbooth will feel at home with The Golden Dreidel. VERDICT This has a modern appeal and is a worthy holiday purchase for chapter book readers.
—School Library Journal, starred review