Green Bean Books

The Extraordinary Dreidel

Written by Devorah Omer
Illustrated by Aviel Basil

Price: £9.99/$10.99
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781784389376


  • A light-hearted, informative children’s story about a dreidel, teaching them about the festival and traditions of Hanukkah
  • Helps children to understand their own place within the holiday and how they can contribute
  • Shows children the importance of the religious festival in a way that they can easily understand and relate to
  • Vibrant, colourful illustrations


“On Hanukkah, Uncle Haim the carpenter made Gil and Nurit a wooden dreidel. This was no ordinary dreidel.”

It is Hanukkah, and brother and sister Gil and Nurit have just been given a wooden dreidel; a special one, made just for them by their uncle. The children soon discover just how special this dreidel really is when they uncover its secret, hidden compartment.

Gil and Nurit discuss which of their own things they should hide inside. Gil then decides that he will take the dreidel to his school Hanukkah party and offer a prize to the person with the best idea. But as he prepares to leave, the dreidel is nowhere to be found. When he fetches his jacket in the closet, however, he is met with a great surprise!

The Extraordinary Dreidel is a light-hearted, family-focused story for children that will educate them about the traditions of Hanukkah and their place within the holiday. Aviel Basil’s colourful, eye-catching illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to this enjoyable, meaningful tale.

Author Details

Devorah Omer (1932–2013) was born in Kibbutz Maoz Haim in 1932. Completing her studies in 1952, she went on to become a teacher, which was when she began to write books. In her lifetime, she wrote and adapted more than 100 books for children and young people, which have been translated into many languages.

She received a great number of awards for her work, including the Ministry of Education Prize in 1973, the Ministry of Education Prize for Lifetime Achievement in 2005 and the Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement in 2006. Her books also won her the Book Publishers Association’s Gold and Platinum Awards on several occasions. She is one of the most prolific and popular children’s authors ever to come out of Israel. Devorah Omer died in Israel at the age of 80.

Aviel Basil graduated from Shenkar College of Design in Tel-Aviv in 2011. In 2012, he won the Israel Museum Award Silver Medal for Children’s Book Illustration for his first book. Since then, he has illustrated more than 50 children’s books. He has also illustrated for magazines, advertisement and worked on character and background designs for various apps and animations. He currently works and lives in Tel-Aviv. His recent work includes This is My Shabbat for Green Bean Books.

The Extraordinary Dreidel is a fun and engaging picture book about Hanukkah for young readers.  Devorah Omer is one of the legends in the Israeli kidlit book world. I grew up reading many of her exquisite stories, and The Extraordinary Dreidel is no different. What seems to be, at first glance, straightforward language and plot turns out to be a story that provides a level of sophistication that gets children’s attention from the start and engages their curiosity and independent thinking while igniting their imagination… The very talented Aviel Basil, who I adore, has created a Mizrahi family portrait in full swing. He has been trying to push the awareness of the different shades of Jewishness that we can find in the world in general and in Israel in particular, and that is clearly evident here. The illustrations are fun with a touch of a comic feel to them, and display much emotion on each spread. 
I highly recommend this Hanukkah book as a good read or a gift, and I find it suitable for non-Jewish audiences as well, as the emphasis is not on the details of Hanukah but on the family and community experience of holidays.” — Rinat Hadad
‘Devo­rah Omer was a clas­sic Israeli chil­dren’s author who wrote more than one hun­dred books and was beloved by par­ents, teach­ers, and chil­dren. Many of her books have been trans­lat­ed into Eng­lish. The Extra­or­di­nary Drei­del is one such book — and it car­ries on Omer’s lega­cy as a writer of enjoy­able children’s stories…  Hid­den inside this adorable sto­ry of a spe­cial hid­ing place are addi­tion­al nuggets of sur­prise. The names of the pro­tag­o­nists, Gil and Nurit, trans­late to ​joy” and ​can­dle­light” — per­fect choic­es for a sto­ry about Hanukkah. The book’s live­ly art is full of bright col­ors and depicts cheer­ful char­ac­ters from var­i­ous back­grounds, enhanc­ing the sto­ry. The Extra­or­di­nary Drei­del is a won­der­ful addi­tion to any­one’s hol­i­day bookshelf.’ — Michal Hoschan­der Malen, Jewish Book Council  

‘This is a very sweet story, telling how Uncle Haim the carpenter made his niece and nephew a wooden dreidel – a very large one – which contained a very special surprise. As the story unfolds, it light-heartedly informs young children of the traditions of the dreidel, by way of the storyline together with eye-catching illustrations. Such a lovely present to give and to receive.’ — Hilary Schuman, WLS Review