Book: Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

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Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

Author: Eric A. Kimmel, Trina Schart Hyman
Publisher: Holiday House

An original story in the tradition of the old Yiddish folk tales about Hershel Ostropolier. This book is welcome both as a Hanukkah story and as a trickster tale.


What are the poor villagers to do? The holiday-hating, hill-dwelling hobgoblins are bound and determined to ruin yet another Hanukkah for them. Every year the beasties snuff out the menorah candles, destroy the dreidels, and pitch the potato latkes on the floor. But these wicked wet blankets never counted on someone as clever as Hershel of Ostropol showing up. Using his wits and a few props—pickles, eggs, and a dreidel (a square-shaped top with Hebrew letters on each side)—Hershel manages to outwit all the creepy critters and break the spell. This fabulously creative adaptation of the ancient Hanukkah story in which the Syrians forbade the Jews to worship as they wanted, keeps the spirit of the original while adding a spine-tingling twist. Warmth and humor prevail, even in the midst of hopeless-looking circumstances. Award-winning illustrator Trina Schart Hyman creates lively and witty pictures that pair perfectly with Eric Kimmel’s words to create this Caldecott Honor Book. (Ages 4 to 8) —Emilie Coulter

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