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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel, ill. Trina Schart Hyman

HershelHanukkahSo Kate asked me to pull out a classic children’s book that was also a Hanukkah book this week. A tricky proposition but by no means an impossible one. Today’s selection is a Caldecott Honor title that has been performed by and read to children for years. You might debate the degree to which this book is part of the cultural zeitgeist, but that shiny silver sticker on the cover means that it is certainly one of the only (THE only?) Hanukkah books to win a Caldecott anything. Christmas books win all the time. Jewish holidays? Not so much. Here then is a sickly Kate and a very well Betsy talking up the book of the season.

Listen to the whole show here on Soundcloud or download it through iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or your preferred method of podcast selection.

Source Notes:

– Curious listeners should check out Marjorie Ingall’s piece in Tablet Magazine Judah Maccabee Versus the Anti-Vaxxers: How a Hanukkah-themed children’s book became the target of conspiracy theorists online. Love everything she writes. Heck, read her Best Jewish Children’s Books of 2017 list of the year. She finds the goods.

– Read the Publishers Weekly piece A Haunting Anniversary ‘Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins’ Turns 25 to get the true inside peek into the book.

– Remember that old television show Jim Henson’s Storyteller:  Well you can see the similarities to Hershel in this 1988 story The Soldier and Death. Please note that Hershel was written in 1985, long before this version came out.

– Same kid?



– The candles do indeed burn down a bit.


– Somehow I was picturing the Goblin King to be a little more Bowie, a little less Groot. Or is it Night on Bald Mountain? You be the judge.

Goblin King




Bald Mountain fellow


– Webbed talons. How did she make such excellent webbed talons?


– Paging Stephen Gammell  . . .


– I am pleased to announce that, in fact, there has never been an Eight Crazy Nights picture book. Which, honestly, is kind of weird at this point.

– See? Cricket Magazine, man. It’s all thanks to them.


– Ah, Trina. Here is where you can get more info on what she used to sneak into her books, including both the gravestone and the witch’s table. Here’s the table. You can just barely make out the problem on the edge below the witch.


And, as I mentioned in the piece, this is her ex.


– The text above Hershel’s head.


– Yay! Drunk History is back for Season Five!

– Again, love the Stranger Things Season Two parody done by Sesame Street.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Ahahaha, CookieGorgon in the Stranger Things parody!