Farmer Kobi's Hanukkah Match

Farmer Kobi's Hanukkah Match

By Karen Rostoker-Gruber and Rabbi Ron Isaacs

Illustrated by CB Decker


Hardcover; 32pp $17.95

2016 National Jewish Book Awards Finalist

2016 Winner of the Church and Synagogue Library Association Award for Children's Literature

A Fun Hanukkah Story Young Children will Love!

Farmer Kobi’s well-mannered goats, donkey, and sheep know just how to play host, and they give Polly, Kobi’s Hanukkah guest, a gracious welcome. But when Polly isn’t sure animals belong in a house, what will happen next?  Find out with laugh-out-loud pictures and puns that are sure to entertain all readers. As donkey says: Hee-Haw-Yahoo!

About the Authors:

Rabbi Ron Isaacs has been the senior rabbi of Temple Sholom in Bridgewater New Jersey since 1975. Author of more than 100 books, his Ask the Rabbi book and website ( keeps him busy answering an eggz-traordinary collection of questions. 

Karen Rostoker-Gruber is an award-winning children's book author and humorist. She has six picture books and four adult humor books to her name.  She is also a ventriloquist and performs with Maria, her puppet, in schools and libraries.

About the Illustrator: 

CB Decker recently moved to Eagle Mountain, 
Utah where there are plenty of dreidel playing goats if you look for them. Illustrator of more children's books than you can count on four, 
CB thinks Donkey is Da-a-a-a-ang cute!

About Apples & Honey Press

Apples & Honey Press brings together the best authors and illustrators from North America and Israel to create memorable stories for children that illuminate the values of family, community, having fun, and being the best we can be.

Farmer Kobi's Hanukkah Match Reviews

Category: Picture Books

An Israeli farmer’s menagerie proves to be both a hindrance and an asset when making the perfect romantic match.

When Farmer Kobi invites Polly for a date on the second night of Hanukkah, Donkey and the geese, goats, and sheep help him prepare. They put out the candles, dreidel, and gelt, suggest his outfit, and are right behind him when he answers the door. Kobi leaves Polly in the living room with his “family” while he finishes up in the kitchen with his Israeli-style Hanukkah menu of baba ghanouj, falafel, latkes with applesauce and sour cream, and limonana. But snooty Polly can’t bear the animals’ indoor presence and finally leaves in a huff. “If I wanted to be with animals, I’d go to the zoo!” Ink-and-watercolor illustrations capture the friendly sincerity of Kobi and his animals, while dialogue infused with animal sounds adds to the drollery. “ ‘She was definitely NOT Farmer Kobi’s perfect maaatch,’ maaed the goats….‘she was a faaake,’ baaed the sheep.” And when Ruthie knocks on the door a few minutes later, needing help with a flat tire, Kobi’s hospitality as supported by his exuberant animal family is definitely appreciated—and perfectly matched by Ruthie’s own farm animals, who wait in her truck. A short illustrated glossary and a suggested discussion guide on Jewish values of “Compassion for Animals” and “Welcoming Guests” round out this romp.

Though Hanukkah takes something of a back seat, this funny, friendly tale is a worthy addition to the holiday shelves.

-Kirkus Reviews

Once upon a time in modern Israel, there lived a handsome farmer named Kobi. He has an impressive spread of land in the moshav (a cooperative farming community) and doting animal friends, yet he yearns to find his “perfect match.” Farmer Kobi and the animals have high hopes for their Hanukkah dinner guest, but fashionista Polly is not cut out for a life in which animals eagerly involve themselves in everything from serving food to handing out Hanukkah song sheets (“Shouldn’t you animals be outside chasing things?” she sneers). This being a rom-com, however, true love is waiting in the wings. There’s a surfeit of groan-worthy animal punning (“ ‘Her name was PollyEster—she was a faaake,’ baaed the sheep”), but the scenes between Polly and the animals have an assured comic rhythm, and Decker’s stylish, editorial watercolors handle the anthropomorphic interspecies humor with aplomb. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)

-Publisher's Weekly


Farmer Kobi may have the largest farm on the Moshav (a cooperative farming community in Israel), and many wonderful friends in his farm animals, but still something is missing. He invites Polly to the second night of Hannukah in hopes she is his perfect match. His barnyard friends prepare and angst with the predate nerves and help him to welcome Polly to the festivities. Sadly Polly isn’t happy or understanding of the help the animals give Farmer Kobi. But there’s a serendipitous surprise after Polly leaves. A touching Holiday tale told with a lot of good humor and whimsy, a wonderful book to start a discussion of Jewish values and customs, for Jewish and Gentile children.

The storytelling is straightforward, clear and fun. The illustrations are fun with energetic lines, a lovely retro feel (I thought of Betsy Lewin, though C.B.’s characters have more definition, they have the same easy character).  A sweet, fun book embraceable by young children on Hannukah, on welcoming guests and on Tza’ar Ba’alei Chayyim, the welfare of animals, and the unexpected.


Ron Isaacs and his co-author Karen Rostoker Gruber have once again written the ideal Jewish children's book. While there are a lot of Hanukkah books available for kids, Rabbi Isaacs and Ms. Gruber use fun prose, creative art imagery (by CB Decker) and their gift of storytelling to make this Hanukkah book a lot of fun for kids. I plan to read it publicly to groups of children in the weeks leading up to Hanukkah this year and highly recommend it for other Jewish educators and rabbis, in addition to keeping on the bookshelf in your home for your own children.

-Rabbi Jason Miller via Amazon


With less than two weeks to Hanukkah, it's time to polish the menorah, lay in a supply of candles, find that yummy sweet potato latke recipe you used last year, rescue the dreidel from the goat ... and squeeze in some time to read a new story.I love the way this one begins: Donkey's legs shook so hard he could barely stand. Tonight, on the second night of Hanukkah, Farmer Kobi had invited Polly to his farm for a date.

- Sally's Bookshelf

*Click here for a Q&A with Co-Author Karen Rostoker-Gruber


While Kobi tries to woo his perfect match, you'll root for him to find someone who'll love every part of him - including his tendency to keep his animals in the house."

- The Forward