Holiday Horror for Kids – Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

You know…we’re not biased.  We love scary books for any and all holidays.  If there’s a spooky Easter story out there, you can bet you’ll be hearing about it next spring.  If horror reigns anywhere for Mother’s Day, we’ll find it.  If Valentines Day gets scary, or Thanksgiving yields a tale of turkey terror, we will have front row seats.  Count on it.

Where were we going with this?

Oh yeah – it’s Hanukkah right now, which makes it the perfect time to break out this charming picture book!

Hershel, a traveller, walks into a village on the first night of Hanukkah expecting to find a celebration, but the village is dark and quiet.  Goblins haunt the old synagogue and stop all attempts to celebrate the holiday, making the villagers’ lives miserable in the process.  Hershel decides he must help.  Even when he’s told that to stop the goblins he must stay in the old haunted synagogue for eight nights, he’s undaunted.  He must manage to light the Hanukkah candles each night despite the goblins, and on the eighth night the king of the goblins must light them himself.  Nobody expects him to make it back out, but off he goes anyway.  Using his quick wits and cleverness, he manages to outsmart the goblins in a variety of creative ways and get the candles lit each of the first seven nights.  But how will he survive when the powerful goblin king appears on the eighth night, and how could he possibly manage to get the Hanukkah-hating creature to light the candles himself?  Grab a copy and find out how Hershel saves the holiday.

We love a tale where the hero uses his brain to defeat the bad guys (not that there’s anything wrong with plain old butt-kicking), and this book is a great example.  Fun and even a little educational with a supernatural threat to overcome, this Caldecott Honor book is worth a read.  The illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman (A several-time Caldecott winner herself) are atmospheric and generally superb.  We love it.

Happy Hanukkah!

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