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The Tie Man's Miracle : A Chanukah Tale…

The Tie Man's Miracle : A Chanukah Tale

by Steven Schnur

Other authors: Stephen T. Johnson (Illustrator)

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This is a well done story of elderly man offering a reluctant history lesson and a sense of magic to the celebration to Chanukah for a young boy and his family. It brings up the Holocaust and the devastation it caused for those involved. It doesn't go into extensive detail on the subject, but it definitely opens the discussion. This is a wonderful text, well worth the read. ( )
  matthewbloome | May 19, 2013 |
Impatient for his father to get home, and for the family Chanukah celebration to begin, Seth is somewhat less than thrilled to see old Mr. Hoffman, a traveling tie salesman, arriving on the doorstep. Observing the elderly man as he presents his wares, Seth notes his fascination with his younger sister, Hannah, something that is explained when, having been invited to stay for the lighting of the Chanukah candles, Mr. Hoffman shares the story of his own family - including his own young daughter, also named Hannah - whom he lost "during the war." This is Seth's first encounter with the Holocaust - something his parents had not hitherto shared with him - and he is powerfully moved. When Mr. Hoffman, determined to leave his hosts with a happier tale, shares a story from his own childhood, involving the local villagers' belief that all the Chanukah candles going out at once will bring a wish to the one watching, Seth decides to keep watch and to make a wish of his own. But will his wish - that the "tie man" be reunited with his family - really come true...?

A poignant story, one that had me close to tears on my commute this morning, The Tie Man's Miracle is a holiday story that offers a gentle first introduction to a decidedly disturbing topic. The word "Holocaust" is not used, in the text - Mr. Hoffman mentions losing his family during the war, and Seth's father responds that they have never spoken of "that time" together - although it is clearly felt in the background. Children already familiar with the history will find added meaning in the story, while those who are not will be led to ask questions, which parents and/or teachers can then answer, in a manner best suited to the age and needs of the child. As Seth's father observes, Chanukah is a time for remembering the past, from the story of the revolt of the Maccabees, and the miracle of one day's supply of oil lasting eight, to the personal and family history of the holiday celebrants. The conclusion of the story, in which Seth's wish is granted - the tie man never reappears, and readers are left with the impression that the "reunion" for which Seth wishes involved his death - is melancholy, but also feels appropriate. Schnur shows respect for his young audience, and doesn't try to sugar-coat a reality that does not permit "happy" endings.

All in all, this was a powerful tale, one that will give young readers plenty to think about. The accompanying artwork, done in watercolor by Stephen T. Johnson, has a somber quality that matches the tone of the story. Recommended to anyone looking for good Hanukkah stories, particularly ones that reference the Holocaust. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Apr 13, 2013 |
On the last night of Chanukah, after hearing how an old man lost his family in the Holocaust, a young boy makes a wish that is carried to God as the menorah candles burn down. ( )
  kidlit9 | Feb 27, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Steven Schnurprimary authorall editionscalculated
Johnson, Stephen T.Illustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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On the last night of Chanukah, after hearing how an old man lost his family in the Holocaust, a young boy makes a wish that is carried to God as the menorah candles burn down.

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