Book Review | Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins
by Eric Kimmel

Score: 5

Illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman

©1985  Holiday House

If I was stuck on a desert island during Hanukkah and could only bring one children’s Hanukkah book with me, I would bring this book. Classic, timeless and always enjoyable, great for reading out loud or reading alone, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins is hands down my favorite, number one Hanukkah book.

It is the story of Hershel of Ostropol, a famous character in Jewish folklore, who arrives at a poor village one cold evening. It happens to be the first night of Hanukkah and Hershel is hoping for hospitality, warmth and food. Instead, he finds fear, cold and hunger. The villagers inform Hershel that goblins have taken over and will not allow any celebrations, especially not Hanukkah celebrations. How Hershel proceeds to outwit the goblins and reclaim Hanukkah is the delightful and whimsical center of this story.

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins is a Caldecott Honor book, so the illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman are magnificently drawn. Eric Kimmel is one of the best storytellers in the children’s book world, so the story is eloquent. Yes, there are demons and goblins–even Hershel is scared witless. The kids will love it, and you will too. This is a wonderful book for family reading time, while the Hanukkah candles burn.

Grades K-3rd

Note: Portions of this review appeared on in 2007.

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One Response to “Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins”

  1. Lisa says:

    I love this book too. Here is my review of Kimmel’s newest book


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