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Simon and the Bear: A Hanukkah Tale
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Simon and the Bear: A Hanukkah Tale

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  199 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Before Simon sails to America, he promises his family that he will get a job and send for them. Simon's mother knows he will need a miracle, so she reminds him to celebrate Hanukkah wherever he may be. Little does either of them know that Simon will spend the first night of Hanukkah on an ice floe after his ship sinks.The lone survivor out in the wide ocean, Simon lights t ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 2nd 2014 by Disney-Hyperion
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3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  199 ratings  ·  50 reviews

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Mariah Roze
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Before Simon sails to America, he promises his family that he will get a job and send for them. Simon's mother knows he will need a miracle, so she reminds him to celebrate Hanukkah wherever he may be. Little does either of them know that Simon will spend the first night of Hanukkah on an ice floe after his ship sinks.The lone survivor out in the wide ocean, Simon lights the first candle, and it attracts a visitor: a polar bear. Does she eat him? No! She shares his latkes, enjoys his songs, goe ...more
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When my siblings and I were young, my mother would read Kimmel's Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins every season, and we adored it (it had a lot to do with her funny voices, too). So I was delighted to see this book from the same author.

Simon and the Bear is a Hanukkah tale about a young boy who sets sail for America on a Titanic-esque ship that eventually hits an iceberg. Simon is stranded on the iceberg and encounters a bear, but it is through his generosity and unrelenting faith in the miracle
Juliana Lee
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
I am in awe of another masterpiece. The text and the art blend superbly together to create this story of hope, prayer, and miracles, in a fun and fanciful way.
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great book, great story. Miracles happen, not just at Hanukkah.
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Multicultural Picture Book Entry #1:
Simon and the Bear is perfect of a kindergarten or first grade audience. I would categorize it as a cross between Realistic and Fantasy Fiction. This is because there are some elements of the story that are not possible such as a polar bear that helps a human. At the same time, the idea of being a survivor of a ship wreck is possible.

This book reminded me of the Magic Treehouse: Tonight on the Titanic. The story of the sinking of the Titanic is
Kathryn Bergeron
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
PRECIOUS. I didn't think I would like it, but I loved it. The story is heartwarming, precious, and wonderful. I'm not Jewish so I didn't really know much about Hanukkah, but this story explained a tiny bit to me and I enjoyed it. The boy in the story has such a kind heart and his belief in miracles and sacrifice (read the story!) was well worth it. Beautiful book. Highly recommend.

The illustrations are so darn cute. I loved the polar bear so much! The boy as well!
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lovely illustrations!
Abbie Gerig
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-lit
Genre: Traditional Literature
Grades: Pre K-2

I thought this was a cute book. I did not expect for it to include the sinking of the titanic in there, but the polar bear coming to the rescue of an innocent, selfless boy, was very touching.
Dec 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrenslit, fun, holiday
The story is a little far-fetched but the idea of miracles is wonderful.
Nicole Baher
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-lit
This book starts out on what I assume to be the titanic. The boy is traveling to America away from his family in the midst of Hanukkah. One the titanic sinks he finds himself stranded on an iceberg after giving away his space in a life boat. He becomes friends with a polar bear. This book would be a great way to talk about a holiday that deserves more attention, Hanukkah! It also talks about friendship and the (presumably) Titanic! 2014. Picture Book.
Baby Bookworm
Dec 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: our-reviews

This review was originally written for The Baby Bookworm. Visit us for new picture books reviews daily!

Happy Holidays Week, Day 4: Hello, friends! Today’s book is Simon And The Bear, written by Eric A. Kimmel and illustrated by Matthew Trueman, a Hanukkah story about faith and hope.

Simon is just a boy, but he must leave home. He is immigrating to America to find work and send for his mother and siblings. Simon’s mother tearfully bids him farewell, but not before packing plenty of Hanukkah suppli
Feb 12, 2015 added it
Shelves: j-picture-books
A Hanukkah story that, somewhat bizarrely, combines celebrating Hanukkah with a Titanic-esque shipwreck. The story breaks from Titanic lore when Simon hops from the sinking ship and onto the villainous iceberg. He's able to survive there (with the help of a surprisingly docile polar bear) until a rescue boat arrives. It's a story about how miracles can happen to everyday people, which is a nice message...I just thought that the whole Titanic tie-in (even though it wasn't specifically named as su ...more
Erika Knapp
Part of me liked this read and part of me wasn't so sure about it. I did not like the beginning of the book where the ship that Simon was on started to sink and he got off to let some random man on. In the middle of the book I was a bit iffy when Simon sort of formed a relationship with the bear and use his Hanukkah candles to wish for his miracles. However, at the end of the book, every event that happened tied together and I actually went back in my mind and enjoyed the story. My favorite part ...more
Debbie Tanner
Sep 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this very adventurous Hanukkah story. A boy named Simon is crossing the wide ocean (without his parents) to go to America. When the ship starts to sink, Simon gets into a lifeboat, but a man hands him a beautiful pocket watch with instructions to give it to his son in America. Simon thinks about how terrible it is to be without a father, so he lets the father go in his place. The ship sinks and Simon is cast adrift on a iceberg. Help comes in most surprising places bringing an opportunit ...more
Simon ends up on a sinking ship on his way to America to make a fresh start for himself and his family. He kindly offers his seat in a lifeboat to an adult man with children to care for and finds himself wishing for Hanukkah miracles as he awaits rescue from the iceberg that doomed the ship.

He celebrates Hanukkah from this life or death situation in the sea and is blessed with 8 miracles like the Maccabeees the holiday honors.

Beautiful artwork in a predominately blue color palette. Text is a bit
Dec 18, 2014 rated it really liked it

For these reasons those hardy souls who traveled, in conditions fit for neither humans or animals, across oceans to seek a better life have my utmost respect. To do so alone without the company of a single friend or family is truly commendable. Simon And The Bear: a Hanukkah Tale (Disney Hyperion, September 2, 2014) written by Eric A. Kimmel with illustrations by Matthew Trueman traces a journey filled with one marvel after another.

My full recommendation:
Nov 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When Simon sets off for America, his mother packs him food and also a menorah, candles, dreidel and latkes to celebrate Hanukkah along the way. Unfortunately, his ship hits an iceberg. Simon gives up his spot on the lifeboat to help someone else, and finds himself stranded on the iceberg. Miraculously, his Hanukkah candles draw in a friendly polar bear who helps take care of him. Packed with miracles, this is a great new Hanukkah story for your collection. Recommended for grades 2-4.
Nov 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-stars
If this was a true story I would rate it so much higher, even if parts were fictionalized. I like that it talks about Hanukkah Miracles and things can happened.

The pictures are very nice, and the story is cute but I really wanted it to be partly true. They use the name of a Real Major of New York City which makes me wonder but with a google search I haven't found even a shred of truth. It just feels like a titanic rewrite with a Hanukkah Twist.

Still a cute story!
Oct 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Simon is on his way to America on a ship that strikes an iceberg. He manages to save himself by jumping on to the iceberg and making friends with a polar bear.

It is the season of Hannukah, and Simon has brought along all of the makings for the holiday, including his menorah. And it is the lighting of this menorah on the final evening of the holiday that leads to Simon's rescue.

A sweet story of generosity and faith.
Cheriee Weichel
Dec 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hanukkah
A young man travels on a ship to America, but the boat hits an iceberg. Simon gives up his seat in the lifeboat to an older man and then jumps onto the iceberg just as the boat goes under. He meets and befriends an enormous white bear while stranded on the ice. Matthew Trueman's illustrations are a charming companion to this tale of Hanukkah miracles.
I found a text-to-world connection for this book, which is when a part of this story reminds me of a closely related event that has occurred in the world. The boat carrying the immigrants in this story reminded me very much of the Titanic. Both were big ships filled with people, both hit icebergs and sank, and both had not enough lifeboats to save everyone.
Jillian Heise
A beautifully illustrated story of a young Jewish boy who is immigrating to America and needs his own series of Hanukkah miracles when his ship sinks. There is also a polar bear. Love the illustrations! Loved the references to words surrounding the holiday and within a fantastical story giving information in an engaging way about the traditions of Hanukkah.
Dec 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Read to 2nd grade. Simon travels to America, but the ship is sinking after it hits a iceberg, Simon gives up his place in the life boat to the mayor. He jumps from the ship and lands on the iceberg where he meets a polar bear who is hungry. He gives his latkes to the polar bear and hopes for a Hanukkah miracle.
Read to the 3rd grade in 2016.
Mary Ann
Kimmel will enchant young readers with this tale of a very lucky young Jewish immigrant who’s miraculously saved after his ship strikes an iceberg in the middle of the Atlantic. Is it a Hanukkah miracle that brings a friendly polar bear to Simon, or is it his caring, generous nature? Kimmel spins a wonderful tale that centers on the themes of miracles, faith and compassion.
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
My daughter has recently become fascinated by the Titanic story. We stumbled upon "Simon and the Bear" by accident while looking through holiday books at the library. Lo and behold it was the book to fit her interest in shipwrecks with the holidays! And touch upon the topics of hope and miracles at the same time. What a perfect story for us!
Miss Sarah
May 14, 2015 rated it liked it
a little too long for storytime but a great recommendation for Hanukkah lovers and those who can sit through a longer story. Upon finishing I wished this story was true. An immigrant traveling to America get stranded on an iceberg and makes friends with a polar bear during Hanukkah. Miracles ensue.
Shayla Padilla
I wasnt the biggest fan of this book. The beginning and the middle of the book werent my favorite parts. I was a little iffy, but, at the end of the book i got a better picture because everything went hand in hand at the end of the story. The pictures were very appealing to me.
Oct 15, 2014 rated it liked it
This is a really cute little book with sweet illustrations.

Veg*n families note: The boy carries salted fish in his luggage. The bear catches fish for the boy so he can survive. A secondary character in the book is identified as wearing a fur coat.
Britnee Grantz
I really enjoyed this book, and believe that children would too. This book teaches you about lie lessons along with a Jewish holiday so it shows diversity within cultures. The illustrations were good as well, they told the story without even needing the words.
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Eric A. Kimmel was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1946. He attended PS 193, Andries Hudde Junior High School, and Midwood High School. Brooklyn College was across the street from his high school, so he didn’t want to go there. He headed west, to Easton, Pennsylvania where he graduated from Lafayette College in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in English literature.
Eric worked as an elementary school teache