When we sat down to write our first Hanukkah picture book, we began with a question: How would you feel if you were a dreidel who always got passed over during the holiday fun?
Tizzy—a hopeful but balance-impaired dreidel—anticipates that once again she will be cast aside while the stronger, shinier, and newer dreidels are chosen. Four-year-old Sara spots her and declares that she has found “the perfect dreidel.” It is a theme we have explored in previous books—a child displaying the kind of innocent trust and simple wisdom that often escapes more world-weary grownups.
Sara closes her eyes, makes a wish, and gives a gentle spin, sending Tizzy on an odyssey around the house. Moons rise and suns set as Tizzy outlasts the other dreidels, rewarding Sara with an eight-day spinning adventure.
The best picture books act as portals for meaningful dialog and a deeper understanding of what it means to be human or, perhaps, better humans. We hope that children will make the connection between Tizzy’s plight and the kinds of schoolyard dramas that play out in their own lives. Parents and teachers may find this an ideal opportunity to ask: Would you pick someone like Tizzy to be on your team? Have you ever felt like an outsider? Is there anything about you that makes you a dizzy dreidel? Different, unique, special … wonderful!
The book is dedicated “to all the dizzy dreidels waiting for their chance to shine.”
May the lights of Hanukkah shine brightly for you and your loved ones this holiday season.
Allison and Wayne Marks