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Benjy and the Belsnickel

(3 customer reviews)

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The Belsnickel is coming…

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By Bonnie Swinehart

The Belsnickel is coming...

Dressed in black from head to toe.
Porcupine quills in his hat. A whip in hand.
And bells that jingle with every step.

Benjy, a lovable eleven-year-old in the 1930s, just can't seem to help himself from pulling pranks and letting people down. His target is most often Miss Nettie, the schoolmarm at the one-room schoolhouse where he gets into more trouble than she's willing to tolerate. Maybe he's pulled one too many practical jokes...because everyone keeps telling him he's going to get a visit from the Belsnickel.

Although Benjy believes the Belsnickel is just an old Pennsylvanian folktale told to scare kids into better behavior, deep down he fears the grim legend is real.

When the Belsnickel comes knocking, Benjy quickly learns he is no fable.

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3 reviews for Benjy and the Belsnickel

  1. Nadine

    I’ll own that the television character Dwight Schrute gave me my first introduction to Belsnickel, of whom another character, Jim Halpert, said, “So he’s kinda like Santa, except dirty. And worse.”

    Ha! Love it.

    I would recommend this book for readers a few years younger than Benjy, on account of the storybookish style to the tale and characterizations. I’d hoped for the plot to have something a little deeper or more advanced to it, even for young readers. Something that might dig more at Benjy’s treacherous “couldn’t seem to help himself” mentality. Although Benjy prays often, his dread of Belsnickel seems to be a bigger motivator than God. Perhaps the story could have put a greater focus on the message of integrity, of internal growth, more than the fear of external punishment.

    Still, it’s an overall pleasant and positive read, one I think would be a good precursor to talking with a child about integrity and character.
    ___________
    WhiteFire/WhiteSpark Publishing provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

  2. calamity_manda

    This was a delightful book that I enjoyed wholeheartedly! Benjy is mischievous, but grows on the reader as the book progresses. It was fun to get to know him better as he started to change from the trouble making boy to one who sought to do better in school. This is a sweet trip into the past.
    I received this book from the publisher. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

  3. litteraegaudium

    Heartwarming and charming, “Benjy and the Belsnickel” is an all-around fun read for children whose reading skills are advanced enough for chapter books, and the hand-drawn illustrations add to the appeal. With Christian underpinnings, this book reminds me of the Little House on the Prairie series as well as the lesser-well-known “Younguns of Mansfield” by Thomas L. Tedrow. Benjy is an eleven-year-old boy growing up in the Pennsylvania Dutch town of Landisburg in the 1930s, and this quaint setting includes a one-room schoolhouse and rural farms where adventure is never far away. Unfortunately for Benjy, neither is trouble. Poor Benjy doesn’t mean to be so naughty, but he can’t seem to help himself, and as a result he fears a visit from the Belsnickel at Christmastime. A more benign version of Krampus, the Belsnickel is associated with southwestern Germany and also the Pennsylvania Dutch. Benjy’s encounter with this mysterious creature might be slightly scary for younger kids, but the overwhelming majority of this delightful book is amusing and pleasant. Reading about a time when kids played mostly outside and used their imaginations to have fun is such a relief from today’s technological age and will hopefully inspire young readers to engage in some of these “old-fashioned” activities!

    I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required.

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By Bonnie Swinehart

The Belsnickel is coming…

Dressed in black from head to toe.
Porcupine quills in his hat. A whip in hand.
And bells that jingle with every step.

Benjy, a lovable eleven-year-old in the 1930s, just can’t seem to help himself from pulling pranks and letting people down. His target is most often Miss Nettie, the schoolmarm at the one-room schoolhouse where he gets into more trouble than she’s willing to tolerate. Maybe he’s pulled one too many practical jokes…because everyone keeps telling him he’s going to get a visit from the Belsnickel.

Although Benjy believes the Belsnickel is just an old Pennsylvanian folktale told to scare kids into better behavior, deep down he fears the grim legend is real.

When the Belsnickel comes knocking, Benjy quickly learns he is no fable.

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