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“The greatest gift is a passion for reading.”
Summary: The Synagogue sits at the edge of town, dark and in disrepair. When Hershel begins to ask questions, he learns that the goblins have taken up residence there. Every year, the goblins blow out the menorah candles, the townspeople have given up. This can't be. Hershel decides he is brave enough, and sets into motion a set of plans to render the goblins powerless and restore the town's Hanukkah celebration. Can he last nine nights with the goblins? This is a seasonal picture book that draws on the central themes of Hanukkah to build a unique story.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, playtime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 12; read yourself: 8 to 12
Interest Level: 4 to 10
Reading Level: 3
Age of Child: Started reading with a six-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter picked out this book at her school library. She loves this story and asked us to read it several times. She also wanted us to keep it an extra day before taking it back to the library.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a wonderful story! We are always amazed at what attracts our child to a book ... and are tickled when she finds a gem. The illustrations and text complement each other so well, and create a tale that everyone can enjoy.
Pros: This picture book offers a wonderful story for all seasons and all audiences, Christian and Jew. Although the story is fictional, there is a lot to be learned about Hanukkah and faith in general.
Borrow or Buy: This one could go either way. You DEFINITELY must borrow it, but we would also recommend buying it -- even if you aren't Jewish.
Educational Themes: On the surface, this is a book about Hanukkah and the Festival of Light, but Hershel offers readers a character with depth and wonderful things to talk about that are part of the season, but also valuable traits for year 'round: faith, problem solving, fear, helping others, to name a few.
Notes: This is a Caldecott Honor Book
Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, Hanukkah, Judaism, problem solving
Date(s) Reviewed: December 2007
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.