Cover image for Hershel and the Hanukkah goblins
Hershel and the Hanukkah goblins
Kimmel, Eric A., author.
Personal Author:
25th anniversary edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Holiday House, [2014]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Relates how Hershel outwits the goblins that haunt the old synagogue and prevent the village people from celebrating Hanukkah.
Reading Level:
AD 420 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.0 0.5 42030.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 3.2 2 Quiz: 05205.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Holiday
J PIC BOOK Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday
J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Holiday

On Order



On the first night of Hanukkah, a weary traveler named Hershel of Ostropol eagerly approaches a village, where plenty of latkes and merriment should warm him.

But when he arrives not a single candle is lit. A band of frightful goblins has taken over the synagogue, and the villagers cannot celebrate at all! Hershel vows to help them. But can one man alone stand up to the goblins, save Hanukkah, and live to tell the tale?

The 25th anniversary edition of this Caldecott Honor-winning classic includes an insightful afterword from the author and publisher explaining the book's origins and remembering Trina Schart Hyman, the illustrator who brought the tale to life.

For more tales of this clever folk hero, read The Adventures of Hershel of Ostropol -- another collaboration between Eric A. Kimmel and Trina Schart Hyman.

Caldecott Honor Book
ALA Notable Children's Book
NCTE Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts

Colorado Children's Book Award
Washington Children's Choice Picture Book Award

Author Notes

Eric A. Kimmel has published more than fifty children's books, many of which have won state awards and appeared on school and library recommended lists. He has won the National Jewish Book Award for numerous books, including Hanukkah Bear and The Mysterious Guest: A Sukkot Story, and the Sydney Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

One of the most distinguished and celebrated illustrators of her generation, Trina Schart Hyman (1939-2004) was awarded the Caldecott Medal for St. George and the Dragon, retold by Margaret Hodges, and Caldecott Honors for A Child's Calendar, by John Updike, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, and Little Red Riding Hood. Born in Philadelphia, she lived most of her life in New Hampshire.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ages 5-8. Set somewhere in Eastern Europe in the nineteenth century, this new story about Hanukkah introduces Hershel of Ostropol, a wanderer, who is anxious to spend the holiday in the next village. Hershel is looking forward to delicious potato latkes and bright candles. Instead, he finds a group of cowering residents who can't celebrate Hanukkah because of the goblins that haunt the synagogue. Only when the king of the goblins himself lights the candles on the eighth night of Hanukkah will the spell be broken. Hershel informs the rabbi that he'll take care of the goblin problem, and so sets out to trick the creatures and reclaim the holiday. Echoing the works of I. B. Singer (though not approaching their artistry), this is a story whose essentials--cleverness, bravery, and other worldly happenings--always attract readers. Using dark wintry colors, Hyman creates an appropriately gloomy landscape for what could be a truly chilling story. Certainly, the king of the goblins, when he appears, is a hellish figure. The rest of the goblins, in keeping with some of the story's lighter moments, are more cartoonlike, and their benign countenance detracts from the dread as Hershel eliminates his foes one by one. (Goblins five, six, and seven are never seen, perhaps to keep the book a tidy length). Hyman's human characters, however, are strongly delineated, as always, and the story as a whole is a fresh addition to holiday shelves. For those not familiar with the symbols of the holiday--the menorah, driedal, etc.--Kimmel provides an informative author's note. --Ilene Cooper

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 5-Has it really been 25 years since Hershel first strode onto library shelves, banishing goblins through cleverness and humor and saving Hanukkah for a poor, besieged village? Eric Kimmel's wonderful tale (Holiday House, 1989) has not aged a whit, and it now receives prime treatment in this beautiful production. Gildart Jackson gives an expressive performance, pulling all the right heartstrings in this adaptation of the scary yet ultimately triumphant story. Add in the animation of the Caldecott Honor illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman, with all their details, and viewers will experience a treasure indeed. VERDICT This is a wonderful presentation that will have little ones on the edge of their seats. It deserves to be a staple for all Hanukkah celebrations.-Teresa Bateman, Brigadoon Elementary, Federal Way, WA © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.