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Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins
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Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  2,754 ratings  ·  261 reviews
A traveler rids a village synagogue of goblins. A Caldecott Honor Book.
Paperback, 30 pages
Published October 1st 1994 by Holiday House (first published 1989)
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Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Reposting for my Chanukah countdown! This is our all time favorite Chanukah book. There is no official read date here because every year we must read it at least five times. Happy Chanukah, everyone!

Hershel and the Chanukah Goblins by Eric Kimmel is my family's favorite Chanukah book. It holds a special place in our home, to the point where I actually purchased it last year as opposed to borrowing it from the library. We start reading this on the first day of the Jewish month of Kislev- 3 1/2 we
I know Hanukkah is around the winter Solstice and this book had goblins in the title so I thought it would be good around Halloween. It is a very good book. I enjoyed the artwork in the book and I thought that this was a spiritual battle of sorts. Goblins have claimed the synagog and won't let Hanukkah candles be lit. Hershel declares that he can keep them lit. Hershel has faith, faith in his tradition and also faith in himself. He knows he can outwit the goblins

It's a spooky and creepy story. T
Mariah Roze
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Today I had my students raise their hands if they had ever heard of Hanukkah. Not a single one of them raised their hand.... So I needed to change that. For the month of December and the end of November we will be learning about Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas.

This Jewish Folktale was perfect for teaching my students the basics of Hanukkah. We talked about the 8 days and what a menorah is.

This book also has a 22minute short film, so my students watched that after we finished the book.
An entertaining, engaging (as well as informative) folktale-like offering of how Hershel of Ostropol, arrriving at an anonymous Eastern European village on the Eve of Hanukkah, with clever wile, with courage and perseverance rids the village synagogue of an army of nasty demonic goblins that had been preventing Hanukkah celebrations, both Eric Kimmel's narrative and Tricia Schart Hyman's accompanying illustrations are absolutely fabulous (to quote the Brit Com series, and with no pun intended). ...more
Sep 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
It's Christmas Eve, so I guess I'd better review a Hanukkah book! *grows horns and cloven hooves, laughs evilly*

In all seriousness though, I really love this book. I read it all the time as a child, and I remember thinking what a clever little badass Herschel was. Besides, nobody else I knew was Jewish (I lived, and still do, in a primarily Catholic, white, affluent town, and so being a biracial Jewish girl I was downright exotic). The basic premise in the story is that the village synagogue is
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jewish families for the holiday.
I LOVE this book! It is one of my all time favorites. It has adventure, humor and Jewish feel to it. While I understood the necessity, I got tired of the typical Chanukah book that basically explained the holiday. This one assumes some knowledge of the holiday. However, there is a summary in the back if you get questions during story time. Besides, it has illustrations by my favorite illustrator, the late great Trina Schart Hyman! And the illustrations make the book. A lot of the humor is shown ...more
L13_Allison Safran
Jan 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
“Isn’t tonight the first night of Hanukkah?” Hershel asked the villagers. “We don’t have Hanukkah, Hershel,” one of them answered sadly. “No Hanukkah? How can that be?”
“It’s because of the goblins. They haunt the old synagogue at the top of the hill. They hate Hanukkah. Whenever we try to light a menorah, the goblins blow out the candles. They break our dreidels. They throw our potato latkes on the floor. Those wicked goblins make our lives miserable all year long, but on Hanukkah it’s really
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I love Jewish folktales! This is a classic "outwitting the bad guys" story, illustrated by my favorite, Trina Schart Hyman. Love it! ...more
Donald Armfield
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens, holiday
I listened to my wife read this to our kids. A great little folktale on a goblin curse and a brave traveler who holds his ground against the goblins.
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young Folklore Lovers / Trina Schart Hyman Fans
When Hershel of Ostropol comes upon a village that is unable to celebrate Hanukkah, because their synagogue has been taken over by goblins, he decides that he must help the people and rid them of their curse. Armed only with his cunning and courage, Hershel sets out to spend the eight nights of Hanukkah in the synagogue. Each night he lights the candles, cleverly defeating the goblins who attempt to stop him. But will he triumph over the truly fearsome King of the Goblins, who arrives on the fin ...more
Jon Hewelt
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A delightful read when I was a kid, a delightful read now that I'm an adult.

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins tells the story of Hershel of Ostropol: a figure of Jewish folklore largely known for his wit. He happens upon a village besieged by goblins, creatures preventing them from celebrating the first night of Hanukkah. The villagers tell Hershel that the only way to defeat the goblins is to spend the remaining nights of Hanukkah in the old synagogue high on the hill, and to keep the Hanukkah c
Dec 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is an interesting folktale about Hanukkah, one that I'd never heard before. I was afraid that it would be a bit too scary for our girls, but they enjoyed the story and didn't seem to be affected by the slightly creepy illustrations of the scarier goblins.

The first few were actually kind of cute. Overall, it's a fantastic story and an interesting way to tell about the Jewish holiday.

This book was selected as one of the books for the August 2016- Caldecott Honor discussion at the Picture-Boo
Hershel arrives in a village to find that the goblins who haunt the old synagogue have forbidden the celebrating of Hanukkah. To get rid of them, Hershel must spend eight nights in the synagogue, and on the eighth night, he must trick the King of the Goblins into lighting the Hanukkah candles himself.

Can Hershel outwit the goblins, and save the beloved holiday? There's more than latkes riding on the outcome.

An interesting and unpredictable story, with lovely illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman.
This seems very much a trickster tail to me. I read an Anansi story right before it and there are definite parallels. A village can't light their Hanukkah menorahs because goblins won't allow it. But if Hershel can light them each night and then get the goblin king to light them on the final night, then the village will be free to celebrate Hanukkah again. So Hershel sets off to do just that and through his clever, cunning tricks he is able to outsmart each goblin. ...more
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh we just adored this! How wonderful that Goodreads led me to it. Goblins trying to cancel Chanukah? What could be better for a seven year old adorable curly haired monster? We loved it. Herschel is so smart, and I'm sure its not a spoiler if I tell you that he saves the day. Perfect, and perfect for holiday season. ...more
Feb 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A great read aloud. Lots of fun for Jews and Gentiles alike.
Courtney Canino
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, by Eric Kimmel, is one of my all time favorite children book. It is told in 3rd person point of view, and it has a lexile of 400 so it is for upper elementary aged students. The main characters of this book are Hershel, and the 8 Hanukkah goblins. The setting of this book is in a synagogue on top of a hill in a little Jewish town. The plot of this story is that Hershel is passing thought a Jewish town on Hanukkah eve and he asks the villagers why there aren't an ...more
Alexis Caudill
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-summaries
1. Book summary, in your own words (3 pts)
Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins is a Caldecott Honor Book. It is about a man named Hershel who is traveling to a town to celebrate Hanukkah, but when he gets there he is told they do not celebrate Hanukkah. They are not allowed to because of the goblins. Hershel has to outsmart the goblins in order to be able to celebrate Hanukkah.
2. Grade level, interest level, lexile (1 pt)
This would be a great book for K-3rd graders, It is a great story, full of fun
Phil Jensen
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Goblins are messing with Hanukkah! It's so bad that no one is even making latkes this season! What shall we do? If only we had a trickster hero to help us!

This is a great, fun story written at about a Kindergarten level, although readers of any age would enjoy it. It includes some great Hanukkah information, too. I thought it was refreshing that the illustrator, Trina Schart Hyman is best-known for the Christian-themed classic Saint George and the Dragon. Clearly a broad-minded artist.

My Scandin
Sep 10, 2015 rated it liked it
In the children's book written by Eric Kimmel, "Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins," Hershel of Ostropol, arrives in a village on the first night of Hanukkah. However, the villagers have been banned from celebrating Hanukkah by goblins that haunt the old synagogue at the top of the hill. Hershel out smarts the goblins using only some eggs, a dreidl and a menorah. This book teaches the importance of holidays such as Hanukkah.
I think the illustrations demonstrate the village and what the goblins l
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I picked this book because I want my classroom library to be as diverse and inclusive as possible. With so many books centered around Christmas traditions, it's important not to forget other holidays celebrated in winter. Since one of my best friends of nearly 20 years is Jewish, a Hanukkah story seemed like an obvious place to start expanding my collection.

For a picture book, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins is a longer read than most, but the story flows well and easily. The illustrations sea
Katie Fitzgerald
This is one of my favorites from the entire challenge thus far. The goblins have outlawed Hanukkah, but Hershel is too smart to let them get away with it. Each night, he tricks a different goblin into letting him light the menorah, until finally he wins the holiday back from the evil creatures. The story is fun, not scary, and kids learn about dreidels, menorahs, and other Hanukkah traditions as part of the plot. The illustrations of the goblins are cartoonish, showing they are no real threat, a ...more
Nate Stender
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I had all but forgotten about this book until a friend of mine from college reminded me of it through Goodreads. This book as many different things to me at many different times, but the most important of them would be taught me about strength, determination, pride in my heritage, and perseverance in the face of insurmountable odds. I can best summarize how I feel about this masterpiece of Jewish folklore with this quote from Dennis Hill's Meditation, "It's a curious thing about darkness; no amo ...more
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It's difficult to choose, but Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins might just be my favorite picture book on the holiday. I remember my siblings and I listening raptly as my mom read it year after year. Hershel's cunning methods of fooling the goblins that wish to halt all Hanukkah celebrations in a rural village never failed to inspire our wonder and laughter. As I reread it in adulthood, I can still hear my mom's distinct voice for Hershel and his brave acts. ...more
Aug 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: caldecott
1990 Caldecott Honor - Favorite Illustration: When Hershel is playing driedel with the red goblin. I love the look of frustration on his face as he loses, time after time, to Hershel.
This was a fun story and I LOVED the hilarious depictions of the goblins. The king was a bit on the creepy side but the rest were funny! I also enjoyed the small author's note, but I wish there had been more info, since Jewish fairy tales aren't as common as the more mainstream Grimms.
Lesley Looper
This is a neat Jewish folktale with neat illustrations. Hershal shows faith, courage, and cleverness in outwitting the goblins in this story. The goblin illustrations are fun, and make it an especially cute story to read between Halloween and Hanukkah. :)
Brenda Kahn
I spent today read this instant classic to fifth grade today. Most of the kids have heard it but no one seemed to mind. I heard a lot of "Oh! I love that book!" It turns 25 this year and I can't believe I never added it to my GR list. ...more
Cynthia Egbert
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
What a fun holiday read! Seriously creepy with great illustrations and a true clever wit on the part of Hershel, I loved this one and I wish that I had found it when I still had younger children at home because I would have made it part of our holiday reading regimen.
I have always loved this one--maybe because of the scary goblins :-)
What's not to like about this book? It has it all. Great pictures. A little bit scary. (Which doesn't seem to bother the kids; in fact, I think that's one of the things they like best.) Introduction to another culture. Clever.

Update: The hardback version is much more inviting than the Scholastic paperback.
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Play Book Tag: Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins - 5 stars, by Eric Kimmel 1 11 Dec 08, 2017 03:01PM  

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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

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