The Kvetch Who Stole Hanukkah

Parent/Teacher Guide

“The Kvetch Who Stole Hanukkah”

It has always been our intention for ‘THE KVETCH WHO STOLE HANUKKAH” to be used in a variety of ways. First and foremost, the text and the illustrations make for a delightful Hanukkah story that children and their families can refer back to EVERY Hanukkah!  We’d love for “The Kvetch Who Stole Hanukkah” to become part of your family’s library and, your “night before HANUKKAH” traditional reading! Please refer to our “ALL ABOUT HANUKKAH” page for in depth look at Hanukkah and its many symbols!

Our book is more than a Hanukkah story, and we hope you’ll find it useful in a variety of ways.

“THE KVETCH” can be used by parents and teachers to explore the feelings that all children have, but may feel uncomfortable expressing!

The “Kvetch” is a vehicle through which you may provide your children and students with a safe and secure environment to discuss both pleasant AND troubling feelings.  As long as your child knows it’s perfectly acceptable (and important) to feel whatever it is they feel; whether it’s joy or anger, fear or bravery, compassion or aggression and that YOU are available to talk with them about these things,  “The Kvetch” is for you!!

And, as long as your child knows the difference between feeling the aggressive, sad, angry feelings and ACTING upon them, we have a real chance at creating a world where there is “true justice and charity!”

Unfortunately, we have all heard about the increase in reported cases of “bullying.”  In some ways, “THE KVETCH” like Antiochus, tries to steal the joy and spirit of Hanukkah, by taking what is not his.  In our book, three brave children walk up to the hill where “THE KVETCH” has taken the menorahs he’s stolen, and engage him in a discussion about the true meaning of Hanukkah!  We want to make sure that when your children/students discuss this part of our book, they are discouraged from doing this when encountering a bully!  In other words “don’t try this at home!” On the other hand, it’s really important for your child to know that they must find a safe adult, at home or at school, with whom they can discuss any bullying they may be experiencing!

However, it is important to emphasize WHAT the children learn about WHY “THE KVETCH” behaves in this way.  We can then  underscore the fact that bullies NEVER bully because there’s something wrong with the person who is subjected to their taunts and bad behavior!  It’s ALWAYS about what is missing in the bully!  This is NOT an excuse but rather an EXPLANATION in an effort to build self esteem !!  Essentially, we are saying that there is something wrong with the bully,  NOT YOU!!

Some Sample Discussion Questions

The extent to which you engage in discussions with your child about these questions is entirely dependent upon your child’s age and/or stage of development.

“MR.  KVETCH” is often annoyed and angry.  Do YOU ever feel that way?  What do YOU feel that way about? What do YOU do when you’re angry?

“MR. KVETCH” seems “grumpy” all of the time.  Do YOU ever feel “grumpy?” When do YOU feel that way?  What do YOU do when you feel that way?

Some people may think that “MR.  KVETCH”acts like a bully because he’s mean and takes things from the people in Oyville.  Have YOU ever met a bully?  If YOU have, what did YOU  do?  If YOU haven’t, what might YOU do?

“MR. KVETCH” has a “bad dream” or a “nightmare,” that really upsets him.   Do YOU ever have dreams when YOU are asleep?  Do YOU ever have dreams that make YOU happy?  Can YOU tell us about one of those dreams?  Do YOU ever have dreams that make YOU feel sad or scared?  Can YOU tell us about one of those dreams?

What do YOU do when you are feeling frightened or scared?

What do YOU do when you are feeling sad?

The children in our book are looking forward to Hanukkah.  What do YOU look forward to?  How does that make YOU feel?

Have YOU ever been given a gift?  How do YOU feel when you receive a gift?

Have YOU ever given anyone a gift?  How did YOU feel when you gave a gift to someone?

“MR. KVETCH” cries when the children come up to the hill to talk with him.  Why do YOU think he cries?  Have YOU ever cried because YOU were happy?  Have YOU ever cried because YOU were scared?  Have YOU ever cried because you were sad?

There are three children in the book.  If  YOU could choose to be one of those children, who would YOU choose, and why?

At the end of the book, “MR. KVETCH” and all of the people in the town of OYVILLE are happy!  Are there special days that you celebrate in YOUR town, that make you happy?

The last page of the book says:  “and another great miracle has happened here.” What do YOU think that means, and if you could wish for a miracle, what would you wish for?

Some Examples Of Jewish Holiday Questions


What does Rosh Hashanah mean? (Rosh=head  Hashanah=the year)

In which  season do we celebrate Rosh Hashanah? Late Summer or Early Fall

What fruit do we associate with Rosh Hashanah? Apples

Why do we dip that fruit into honey on Rosh Hashanah?  To symbolize wishes for a sweet year

The first page of “THE KVETCH WHO STOLE HANUKKAH” also refers to “the Red Sea parting.”

Which  holiday are we talking about?  Passover

What special meal do we have on Passover?  Seder

What does Seder mean? Order

What special food do we eat during Passover?  Matzoh

What is Matzoh?  Unleavened bread

Why do we eat only unleavened bread?  Because the Jewish people had no time for their dough to rise when they were fleeing Egypt.

From whom were they fleeing?  Pharaoh

As you can see,  many questions and discussions can arise from simply one page!

The Illustrations

Peter J. Welling is an award winning illustrator, and his whimsical and delightful artwork make reading “THE KVETCH WHO STOLE HANUKKAH” pure joy!  Peter has added so many zany characters into the background of almost every page of our book.  These animals and characters can be used in so many ways.  You can help your child to count the number of animals, or pictures, or latkes.  You can discuss what it is that your child thinks the characters in the background are doing or saying.  The number of ways  these wonderful illustrations can be used by you and your child, are limitless.

But please remember;  whether you are talking with your child about feelings, other Jewish holidays,  Hanukkah,  or the illustrations, first and foremost ‘THE KVETCH WHO STOLE HANUKKAH” is here for you to ENJOY!! Please DO, and have a VERY HAPPY HANUKKAH!!!