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52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Hanukkah stories ever!
I admit that I find it somewhat of a relief to read a children's book about Hanukkah that isn't yet another retelling of the original Hanukkah story of the ancient Jewish military and spiritual victory over Greek and Syrian opressors. Eric Kimmell's 'Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins' is unusual in that regard, but absolutely true to the spirit of the holiday. Hanukkah is...
Published on April 7, 2002 by Joy Fleisig

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Too stereotypic
Published 1 month ago by arnold gerstein


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52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Hanukkah stories ever!, April 7, 2002
By 
Joy Fleisig (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins (Paperback)
I admit that I find it somewhat of a relief to read a children's book about Hanukkah that isn't yet another retelling of the original Hanukkah story of the ancient Jewish military and spiritual victory over Greek and Syrian opressors. Eric Kimmell's 'Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins' is unusual in that regard, but absolutely true to the spirit of the holiday. Hanukkah is about many things, but perhaps most importantly, about keeping the light of goodness and truth burning despite the darknesses and terrors of life. Few books, especially those written for children, reflect that view as well as this book does.
Tired and hungry, the wandering beggar Hershel of Ostropol arrives in a small village on the first night of Hanukkah and is eager to join the celebrations. But the villagers are terrified of Hanukkah - their synagogue is haunted by goblins who will not let the villagers celebrate the holiday and who make their lives miserable. Hershel, of course, is certain he can help, and volunteers to spend all eight nights of Hanukkah in the haunted synagogue. The task that Hershel must take on is truly daunting. He not only has to light the Hanukkah candles every night despite the goblins' efforts to stop him, but on the last night the King of the Goblins himself must light the candles! ...
There is also a brief postscript that talks about the origins of Hanukkah, and the PROPER way to play dreidel!
Trina Schart Hyman has been one of my favorite illustrators since I was a child.... Her cartoon-like style is instantly recognizable, and her illustrations perfectly capture both Hershel's personality and the whimsy and the terror of the situations he gets into. The goblins, although ugly, are more comic than scary, but the King of the Goblins is truly horrifying (probably because we never actually see him up close). Still, I wouldn't worry about the book giving children any nightmares, especially if their parents talk to them about it.
If you are Jewish, this is an essential addition to your child's library -or even your own! Frankly, the messages of conquering evil through brains, humor, courage and faith (as opposed to brute strength) are valuable for children and adults of any faith or ethnic background. ...[I agree when it is said] that this is just as good a story for Halloween as it is for Hanukkah, as well as a good way to introduce Hanukkah to non-Jewish children. Not to mention, as several teachers and librarians have pointed out here, it must be a delight to read this to a young child, with all the different funny voices one can put on for the goblins. This would have been perfect material for an animated TV special - what a pity one wasn't made.
By the way, Hershel of Ostropol (1747-1811) was actually a real person - he was sort of a 'court jester' to the Hasidic rebbe Borukh of Mezhbizh. While 'Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins' is fiction (I assume!), there are many true stories about Herschel which have been told over and over again, and can be found in Jewish folktale collections. Actually, Kimmel himself wrote a marvelous book called 'The Adventures of Hershel of Ostropol', also illustrated by Hyman. It's an excellent further step to take if you want to know more about one of the greatest Jewish tricksters of all time, or even just to read some really delightful stories. Wait till you see how the wily Hershel gets the better of a really stupid robber...
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is one of the best, most inspiring childrens books ever, September 29, 1999
By A Customer
When I was I think 7, I read Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins for the first time. I checked it out from my school library. I must of checked that book out from there at least a thousand times. Hershel gave his town hope and at the time they needed it most. He took the only things that the villagers had left to give him (an egg, a dreidal, and a pickle jar) and he climbed the mountain where the goblins were yet nobody had faith in him to come back. Read Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins and learn how Hershel out smarts the goblins. It's a great book for all ages and I hope that you enjoy the book as much as I do.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN ARTISTIC GEM IN CHILDREN'S LITERATURE, October 17, 2000
By A Customer
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This review is from: Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins (Paperback)
Every year I read this story to as many children as I can. AS a music teacher I have my captive audience:) I have sometimes 9 classes a day(3 too many, but that's another review of another kind)and I use the reading of the story as an acting exercise for me and total delight for the children.It usually falls into two sections of reading. I use different voices for each of the exquisite creatures and the children delight in the imagery and ultimately the universal lesson. In fact, after reading, the group and I recognize that when Hershel was faced with a problem..."He didn't get a gun, he didn't get a knife...(we point to our heads)...he used his ooold brain". Indeed this intelligent, brilliantly written and beautifully illustrated book is a gem.
I also use the opportunity at the time of Halloween to explore and explain about Hanukkah so that by the time that holiday rolls around they know all about it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hershel is a classic!, November 20, 2000
This review is from: Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins (Paperback)
I bought this book purely from the reviews at Amazon. But what a surprise! My 5 year old is now convinced that Channukah is one of the best holidays, thanks to this wonderful old fashioned "fairy tale." This is one book that I don't mind reading night after night! The Goblins are drawn exquisitely, holding the imagination captive. They are both scary and comical at the same time. And Hershel uses brain not brawn to make his point!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Hanukkah book we've read, and great for Halloween., November 30, 1996
By A Customer
This review is from: Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins (Paperback)
We check this out every year, and now that it's in paperback, we're buying it! The text and vocabulary are suitable for preschool/kindergarten, yet interesting to parents as well. The wonderful drawings cover the pages. The goblins are horrible, yet not frightening. The main character, Hershel, defeats the goblins with brains, not brawn. Just great
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars K teacher loves this book, January 20, 2005
This is a great book to read aloud to children. The language flows and there are lots of opportunities to use funny voices. I use it to teach about Chanukah and math lessons with dreidels. BTW, it is in print and available for about 7.00 from Barnes & Noble!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hershel and the hanukkah goblns, April 22, 2002
A Kid's Review
Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by: Trina Hyman was * * * * * stars
It was the first night of Hanukkah and Hershel of Ostropol was walking down the road. When he got there he knew he would have been treated with potato latkes , games, and bright candles, But there was none. Hershel asked the village people why there was no Hanukkah, "They said the goblins haunt the old synagogue and they hate Hanukkah."
Hershel decided to defeat the goblins and let them allow Hanukkah, but were the goblins to strong and powerful. That's the best part, read this book and find out what happens to Hershel.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating, December 8, 2004
I read this story to introduce the theme of Hanukkah to my grade 2 and 3 students today, and I don't think I've ever seen them so enthralled by a book before. They absolutely loved it, and had a ball predicting ways in which *they* might outwit the Hanukkah goblins if they were in Hershel's shoes. Their ideas were so creative that I asked them to do an impromptu assignment in which they write their own ideas down in book form, with decorative pictures and all. This was one time I didn't hear groans at the thought of (horrors!) writing!

Great story, great pictures... great job!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Power story of faith, December 7, 2004
This book is one of the most amazing stories I have ever shared with children. The eerie setting, the creepy goblins, the keen intelligence of Hershel plus the sublime art work of the great Trina Schart Hyman make this one of the most perfect picture storybooks every created.

A tremendous story for all people that upholds the power of faith.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hershel is a hilarious Hanukkah trickster tale!, December 18, 2001
By 
Volkert Volkersz (Snohomish County, WA United States) - See all my reviews
"Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins" is one of those rare books that immediately captures the attention of students from the minute I begin reading it aloud, and they can't wait to hear (and see) what develops at each page turn. This is one where the illustrations get, and deserve, equal standing with the animated and atmospheric storyline.
In our predominantly Gentile elementary school, it helps to explain dreidels, latkes, and the lighting of the menorah candles for eight nights before commencing. But then the fun begins. This Hershel falls into the tradition of great trickster tales where he uses his quick wit and careful planning to outsmart the goblins (as well as THE KING OF THE GOBLINS) so that he can light the Hanukkah candles each night.
This book is a complete delight, and a humorous way to introduce the festival of Hanukkah to our many Gentile students. Like another reviewer here, I have a great deal of fun using various voices to bring this tale to life.
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Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins
Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric A. Kimmel (Paperback - September 1, 1994)
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