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Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Can Hershel really rid the village synagogue of goblins? He successfully uses his wits to oust the eight creatures haunting the old synagogue and who are preventing the villagers from celebrating Hanukkah. Kimmel provides a humorous, entertaining and just slightly scary story for all young readers. Hyman's illustrations emphasize all of the tension with dark scenes of the goblins and their attempts to frighten Hershel. A Caldecott Honor Book.
Bobbie Combs
Hyman's pictures are filled with drama, expressive people and ugly goblins, and on the last page there's an author's note with an explanation of the history and symbols of Hanukkah.
Alternative Family
Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
Light the candles! Spin the dredel! Celebrate the silver anniversary of the iconic holiday classic! Hanukkah wouldn’t be Hanukkah with at least one visit to Ostropol where villager Hershel vows to rid the synagogue of an assortment of goblins that are preventing the townspeople from celebrating the holiday. Hershel takes on the challenge of making the Goblin King light candles for eight nights to defeat the goblins’ curse. On each night the goblins grow, from small and silly; to fat and goofy; to the ultimately evil of the King of the Goblins. Hershel uses the goblins’ own foolishness and ego to trick them into participating in the holiday celebration, which leads to their destruction. The goblins’ defeat comes with the use of very mundane items: a boiled egg, a jar of pickles, and a dreidel game played to Hershel’s advantage. The final confrontation is a battle of wits between the Goblin King and the trickster human, but the explosive conclusion is as satisfying now as it was a quarter century ago. Of course, the modern folktale is perfectly complemented by Trina Schart Hyman’s moody yet laughable illustrations that are the clear stars of the book. Missing from this new edition is the explanation of Hanukkah and instructions on how to play dreidel in a non-goblin duping manner. The afterword offers some inspiration for writers as Kimmel shares how his story was repeatedly rejected by publishing houses and was ultimately printed only as a substitute piece for Cricket Magazine. Adults will appreciate Kimmel’s amended account of his story’s repeated rejections in the very competitive world of children’s book publishing. This story begs for classroom reading to children old enough to sit through a wordier tale. Expand the book with traditional Hanukkah stories or other goblin tales like Sendak’s Outside Over There. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross; Ages 5 to 10.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823411313
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/1994
  • Series: Caldecott Honor Book Series
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 400L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.15 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 30, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    One of Trina's best!

    This story is cleaver and beautifully illustrated and I enjoy sharing it with as many new people I can.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2008

    worth every cent

    I found this book during a Caldecot book study about 10 years ago. I knew I had to use it for my December reading library. As a teacher, I couldn't afford to buy it and my school didn't have a copy. So I called the public library. They held it for me. When I picked it up, I was delighted to know that the person who got it off the shelf had read it and was all a buzz with his co-workers about this great book. Ten years later, I have my own copy, in fact, I'm on my second copy. My first book had been read and read again and again over the seven years, so I now have a new copy. It is worth every cent! It gets the children excited and involved in the story!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2007

    Great for children of all ages

    I've been reading this story to preschoolers for years and they always enjoy trying to figure out what will happen next. I use different voices that add to the fun. This is truly a masterpiece.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2007

    Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

    Eric Kemmel definitely knows how to capture the attention of the little kids who love to hear about spooky goblins. Maybe he knows what the children like, from being an elementary teacher, after graduating from Lafayette College in 1967. He taught and was a librarian in an elementary school in the Virgin Islands. In his 1990 Caldecott Honor book, 'Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins' he definitely took Hanukkah to a knew level involving goblins. Every little kid is goign to enjoy looking at the three eyed monsters and guessing what is going to happen. Illustrator Trina Schart Hyman did a great job of incorporating the storyline and goblins in the story. The kids actually learn about Hanukkah in a fun way. I think with the two extremely different types of characters it would be hard to illustrate for a book, but kids are going to love this book because its different and it has goblins.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2007

    Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

    Erick Kimmel definitely knew how to capture the attention of the little kids who love to hear about spooky goblins. In his 1990 Caldecott Honor book, 'Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins' he definitely took Hanukkah to a knew level involving goblins. Every little kid is going to enjoy looking at the three eyed monsters and guessing what is going. Illustrator Trina Schart Hyman did a great job of incorporating the storyline and goblins into the story. I think with two extreme differet types of characters I think it woud be hard to illustrate for a book. Kids are going to be love this book because its different and it has goblins in it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2004

    This book is the best childre n book ever

    I am a hindu and i have no idea how i stumbled upon thios masterpiece. However i have loved reading it since i was 6 during diwali. Every year i read it eight times for every hanukah candle.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2002

    One of our favorite books --- year 'round

    This book is witty and magical. We love reading again and again how Hershel outsmarted the goblins.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2002

    This was my all-time favorite children's book!

    When I was a kid I made my mom read me this book over and over again. I never tired of hearing about Hershel's bravery and cleverness as he attempts to outsmart the Hanukkah Goblins. The intricate and beatiful illustrations helped pull me into the captivating tale. When I was older, I took this book along with me to read to the kids I babysat for, as I still enjoyed (and still do for that matter!) hearing how ingenious Hershel is. This is a well-written and fascinating story!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2001

    Outstanding story and captivating illustrations

    This book was given to me to read to some children 5 years ago. I have been reading it to children every year since. It is a scary and wonderful story with terrific, rich illustrations showing Eastern European Jewry from which this genre of story comes. I highly recommend it for young and old.

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