All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah


As a rule of thumb, I have an aversion to people who take a favorite book and either make a movie or add extensions of any kind to it. The more I loved it, the worse I take offense to any deviation from the aura of the original, but I have found an exception to my rule in All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah.

My love for the original All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor began when Children’s Digest printed the chapter where the mother made the chore of dusting more interesting for her five girls by hiding buttons for them to find. The four McGee sisters in rural North Mississippi detested dusting as much as the five sisters who lived the lower east side of NYC. We suggested to Mama that she might use the same method to make dusting more interesting. Sadly, she lapsed quickly on making the chore entertaining. 

My real love for the book came when I taught second grade. For fourteen years, I read aloud All-of-a-Kind Family to my second-grade classes and waited to see the surprise in their faces when we got to the penultimate chapter. 

My library director daughter, who keeps up with books coming out, knew all this and snatched up the newly published All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah picture book written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky to send for my birthday last September. What a treat! Emily captures the sisters exactly as I remember them from the original series with Gertie, the baby, trying unsuccessfully to help with the latkes for the Hanukkah celebration as each of the older girls takes on her part of the preparation. Mama is the gentle but firm mother, and Papa figures out how Gertie is needed in the roles they often played in Sydney Taylor’s initial book. Paul Zelinsky’s illustrations make a perfect companion to the story. 

By the time I finished, I wanted to experience latkes myself. The publisher’s website gives directions that were easy enough for this Baptist to follow at A bit of the connection that the author and illustrator made to each other and the book is illustrated in the publisher’s recipe by Emily, with commentary and adjustments by Paul telling how he and his wife make them a bit differently. They tasted as good as they look in the photo.


Now the question is, will there be more holidays and recipes from the All-of-a-Kind Family? I hope so and am casting my vote for the next to be Purim with a Hamentaschen recipe.