Benjy and the Belsnickel

Benjy and the Belsnickel

by Bonnie Swinehart


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781946531223
Publisher: WhiteFire Publishing
Publication date: 11/15/2018
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.48(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

Table of Contents




4. LOCK OUT 41


6. HOT SOUP 67





11. RAP, RAP, RAP 145




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Benjy and the Belsnickel 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Benjy and the Belsnickel was a fun book to read. It kept my interest to see what troubles Benjy would get into and what his punishment would be. It was interesting to learn about life in the 1930's. I had never heard about the Belsnickel before.
millstreetreader More than 1 year ago
When eleven year old Benjy (Benjamin Clemmons) becomes bored (and almost every day in his one room school means boredom), his imagination takes over. And that imagination leads to mischief, pranks, and just plain trouble. When a pig's tail appears pinned to the back of Miss Lettie's sweater on the first day of school, his teacher lectures Benjy that if he doesn't straighten up, he will likely face a visit from the Belsnickel that upcoming Christmas. Immediately, Benjy shivers as his mind conjures up images of the Belsnickel -- a black, ominous creature with quills around its face and a whip, ready to scare naughty kids straight. And a visit from the Belsnickel certainly means no Christmas gifts under the tree. But Christmas is months away, and Benjy just can't behave. Even being made to chop the family's firewood and the school's firewood cannot keep the young man from hatching a new prank. Set in the 1930's when most rural areas were still a mix of horses, trucks, and cars, this children's novel is steeped in warmth, simplicity, and simple humor. Fishing after school, being scared of the dug out fruit cellar, eating Thanksgiving with an aging neighbor, enjoying a holiday barn dance, and of course, entering the annual spelling bee -- all these activities may be foreign to current school age readers, but hopefully, their hearts will be touched by Benjy's tale of growing up. I would recommend this book to kids age 9-12. At 196 pages, it is short enough to be a family read-aloud. If you enjoy the Waltons or Little House on the Prairie reruns with your kids or grandkids, this would be a good purchase. I received a copy of this book from the publisher WHITESPARK. All opinions are mine.
Stardust_Fiddle More than 1 year ago
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.
NadineTimes10 More than 1 year ago
I must confess that this book turned out to be a younger middle grade than I was expecting, considering Benjy's age. Middle grade fiction is tricky sometimes, as there's often a significant difference between a story that may be appropriate for a seven- or eight-year-old child and a story that would be suitable for someone on the cusp of their teenage years. Though all children are different, of course, I personally would recommend this book for readers a few years younger than Benjy, on account of the storybookish style to the tale and characterizations. Granted, I recognize that Benjy, a boy in the 1930s, comes from a simpler time and place. I'll also admit that 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 which I've given an honest review.
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
What a great middle school read, one that will bring the reader back to a simpler time, and a look at a sweet Christmas time. Back to the one room school house, all six grades together, an unknown concept to today’s students. My 11-year-old is now looking forward to reading this as I have been sharing what is going on with him. He was surprised at the antics of Benjy, and I could sense the wheels turning as I told him what this boy his was doing and the ramifications. Great ending to this story, and good lessons learned here! I received this book through WhiteSpark Publishing, and was not required to give a positive review.
vics49548 More than 1 year ago
What a fun book for your slightly more advanced reader! (I would suggest ages 7 and up.) You will probably laugh out loud at the mischief this young man gets into. He really is lovable and just can’t help himself as he enjoys what he considers to be a good time. Such a typical boy! But…..does he get away with it? Or is there recompense for all that mischief? Read it with your child and see if Benjy learns a thing or two. I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Benjy and the Belsnickel by Bonnie Swinehart is a cute middle grade book about a boy who loves to get into mischief. Benjy is an eleven year old boy who goes to school in a one-room schoolhouse in the 1930’s. He can’t seem to help himself from playing pranks, especially on the teacher, Miss Nettie. That gets him into loads of trouble until he hears about the Pennsylvania Dutch legend of the Belsnickel. He is afraid the Belsnickel will get him if he doesn’t change his ways. Is this creature dressed in black, with a buggy whip and bells on his hat filled with porcupine quills real or it something made up to scare him into good behavior? He knows right from wrong and prays for help to do the right thing. This is a great chapter book for grade schoolers. Written in an easy manner, it is interesting and had me reminiscing about my childhood. I could almost feel the chill of winter and smell the wet wool hats and mittens. It took me back to sledding downhill, ice skating and taffy pulls of my younger days. The school reminded me of my three room schoolhouse when I was nine. I especially liked the way they started the school day with the Pledge of Allegiance and prayers. It seemed the whole community focused on the Church and eachother. *I received this book from the publisher, WhiteSpark, on behalf of the author. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.* Paula Shreckhise