Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

by Eric A. Kimmel

Other authorsTrina Schart Hyman (Illustrator)
Paperback, 1994

Status

Available

Local notes

394.268 Kim

Collection

Publication

Holiday House (1994), 30 pages, $6.95, (Dec. 2017)

Description

Relates how Hershel outwits the goblins that haunt the old synagogue and prevent the village people from celebrating Hanukkah.

Original language

English

Physical description

30 p.; 8.25 inches

ISBN

0823411311 / 9780823411313

Barcode

3660

User reviews

LibraryThing member Whisper1
Well deserving of a Caldecott honor, this is a tale of Hershel of Ostropol who is a wanderer and a bit of a trickster. As he comes to a darkened village on the first night of Hanukkah, we wonders why the candles are not lit. It is a bitter cold, snowy evening and he is told that the festival of Hanukkah cannot be celebrated because the synagogue is captured by nasty, evil, vile goblins.

Should he be able to light eight candles in front of the goblins, the curse will be lifted. Using his trickster, cunning ways, he succeeds in freeing the town of the curse.
… (more)
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
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 final night?

Eric Kimmel has created an exciting story with Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, which has always been one of my favorite stories about the Jewish Festival of Lights. Sometimes creepy, sometimes humorous, it juxtaposes human courage with demonic evil, and although it does not discuss the original Hanukkah story, it is the story of a miracle, albeit a human one. Accompanied by Trina Schart Hyman's distinctive illustrations, which won her a Caldecott Honor, and which accentuate both the comedy and terror of the tale, this is a book which will please readers young and old.

I understand that Hershele Ostropoler was a historical figure - a trickster who lived in 18th century Ukraine, and who has become something of a folk hero. Those wishing to read more of his adventures should look for Kimmel's The Adventures of Hershel of Ostropol.
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LibraryThing member elle0467
Hershel Ostropol has been assigned to spend 8 days in a haunted house full of goblins so his village is able to celebrate hanukkah again. He learns that patience and brains is the only thing needed to survive the 8 nights in the creepy house. After persistence, laughter, and some creepy goblin encounters, Hershel is able to survive the 8 nights in this house without any trouble and the candles going out.… (more)
LibraryThing member phoenixcomet
What a wonderful book! Beautifully illustrated, it tells the tale of Hershel of Ostropol who walks to town to partake in the Hanukkah celebrations only to find out that Hanukkah is not celebrated there due to goblins who prevent the menorah from being lit. So Hershel must outsmart the goblins that arrive each night and in the end trick the King of the Goblins into lighting the menorah himself. Trust me when I say there is a happy ending here. :)… (more)
LibraryThing member jaimefabey
Hershel and the Hanukkah goblins is a tale about Hershel who agrees to restore Hanukkah to a town with Hanukkah hating goblins. Hershel tricks the goblins for 7 nights to keep the menorah lights lit and on the 7 night he is able to have the goblin king light the last candle restore Hanukkah from the goblins.
LibraryThing member Krguarisco
Hmm.. just a little dark for me. Would be cute for older kids to teach them the importance of Hanukkah. The story follows Hershel over a few nights trying to light the menorah all the while the goblins are causing trouble for him and trying to stop him from lighting the candles.
LibraryThing member STBA
Relates how Hershel outwits the goblins that haunt the old synagogue and prevent the village people from celebrating Hanukkah.
LibraryThing member dcaitlyn
The visuals are very striking yet warm. The quirky, curly toed goblins and the smiling, calm, wrinkled face of the protagonist are all expertly designed, and I could feel myself smiling along with him as he cleverly tricks the sprites and saves the day. But for me the story was particularly fascinating.
LibraryThing member hsollom
Personal Response:

Hyman's illustrations of goblins are delightful (and scary, in the case of the Goblin King). Hershel's solutions to each of the goblins are clever and fun. Kimmel writes that he wanted to write a book about Hanukkah that is fun, and he succeeded.

Curricular or Programming Connections:

The religion-as-multiculturalism lesson is not effective if this is the only part of a culture studied, but the book does introduce the basic concept of Hanukkah, and could be used to teach young children about the holiday.

Playing dreidel (instructions for how to play are included in the book)
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LibraryThing member destinymbruner
Hershel comes to town and wants to know why no one is ready to celebrate Hanukkah. The townspeople let Hershel know that the goblins in the town don't like Hanukkah and won't let them celebrate. Hershel sets out on a mission to trick the goblins into letting the people celebrate Hanukkah. This is an excellent read aloud story introduced to me by Carrel Muller at Sacred Heart.… (more)
LibraryThing member raizel
Hershel of Ostropol outwits goblins who have prevented a village from celebrating Hanukkah. SPOILER: One goblin thinks Hershel is strong enough to crush rocks when Hershel squeezes an egg in his hands. One goblin's hand gets stuck in a pickle jar because he won't let go of the pickle he has grabbed in the jar; rather like the story of the monkey who does something similar. One goblin can't help but lose when he plays dreidel according to Hershel's rules. The summary of the holiday at the end is brief and reasonable. While the story may not seem at first blush to have anything to do with the meaning of Hanukkah, as other reviewers have pointed out, Hershel defeats a powerful foe so that Jews are able to practice their religion.… (more)
LibraryThing member CourtneyZeggert
This is a beautifully illustrated book. I love how its a tale of a brave man standing up for himself and the village people. This book brings tha reader to admire the acts of Hershel throghout the Hanukkah Traditions.
LibraryThing member Brettch
This is my favorite Chanukah stories. My Dad is Jewish so my brother and I grew up hearing this story. I love the pictures and I love the trickery by Hershel. It won an award, and even though it was published years ago I had to read it again for this class just to remember how much I loved it. What's great about this book is you don't have to be Jewish, or know anything about Chanukah to enjoy this book. The holiday is nearly a backdrop for this tale.… (more)
LibraryThing member nmhale
I love this story! The author and illustrator took a familiar trickster from Jewish lore and created a clever, humorous, and engrossing story that is a pleasure to read. The story begins on a cold and snowy evening, as Hershel of Ostropol is looking for a warm rest in the nearest village. When he arrives, however, he is dismayed to find every house dark, even though it is the first day of Hanukkah. When he queries the villagers about their dismal appearance, they reveal that they can't celebrate Hanukkah. Apparently, a roost of goblins is terrorizing their town: they blow out the candles, break their dreidels, and throw their latkes on the floor. The only way to stop the goblins is to stay in the old synagogue on the hill overlooking the town and light the menorah each night. Hershel proclaims that he is not afraid of goblins, and sets out to rid the village of their pests.

Each night, as Hershel is about to light the menorah, a goblin pays him a visit. They try to frighten him and threaten to harm him, but Hershel consistently outwits the monsters, and sets that night's candle aflame. He tricks one goblin by showing that he can crush rocks with his bare hands (using boiled eggs), and outwits another one by playing a game of dreidel (with rules made up to always be in Hershel's favor). Each night the goblins are larger, but Hershel always finds just the right ploy to keep himself safe and light another menorah candle. Finally, on the last night of Hanukkah, the king of the goblins comes to call. He is by far the scariest of the lot, but Hershel uses the perfect trick to get under the skin of the goblin king - he pretends to be thoroughly unimpressed. Eventually, the king of goblins lights a candle so that Hershel can see him and be properly awed, unaware that he himself is lighting the last candle on the menorah. The spell is broken, the goblins are whisked away in a supernatural whirlwind of destruction, and all that remains on the hill is Hershel and his table with a lit menorah.

While I have bought several picture books on Hanukkah for more educational reasons, and in my ongoing mission to provide multicultural resources for my daughters, this book I bought simply for the amazing story. I love trickster stories and folktales, and particularly enjoy those that deal with clever protagonists outwitting monsters bigger and scarier than them. The writing is crisp and descriptive, and the tricks Hershel uses are believable satisfying. The illustrations are lovely, with detailed drawings of the people and appropriately grotesque goblins. In my opinion, the book deserves the Caldecott award, not just the honor, because the illustrations interact with the text to create an excellent picture book.
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LibraryThing member Whisper1
Well deserving of a Caldecott honor, this is a tale of Hershel of Ostropol who is a wanderer and a bit of a trickster. As he comes to a darkened village on the first night of Hanukkah, we wonders why the candles are not lit. It is a bitter cold, snowy evening and he is told that the festival of Hanukkah cannot be celebrated because the synagogue is captured by nasty, evil, vile goblins.

Should he be able to light eight candles in front of the goblins, the curse will be lifted. Using his trickster, cunning ways, he succeeds in freeing the town of the curse.
… (more)
LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
Clever story 3.5 stars. Hyman's art 5 stars. And when I picked this up at the library I found that Kimmel has several picture-books about Hanukkah, so, just for fun, I grabbed all that were there.
LibraryThing member lycomayflower
Herschel arrives in a village where they don't celebrate Hanukkah because the goblins won't let them. Herschel volunteers to take care of this problem so that the light of Hanukkah can return to the village. He outsmarts each of seven goblins that arrive on each of the first seven nights of Hanukkah, but will the king of the goblins, arriving on the eighth night, be too much for him? This is just a delight, from the illustrations to the ways Herschel outsmarts the goblins, to the more serious confrontation with the horrible king of the goblins. Recommended.… (more)
LibraryThing member dukefan86
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. :)

Pages

30

Rating

(94 ratings; 4.2)
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