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Lenny and Benny (Hardback)

Children's Books

By Naama Benziman, Translated by Shira Atik
Imprint: Green Bean Books
Pages: 48
Illustrations: Illustrated throughout
ISBN: 9781784386221
Published: 2nd February 2021

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Lenny lives on the edge of the forest. He spends his days tending his roses, drinking cocoa and practising for jumping competitions. He can jump further than anyone in the forest; not even the flea, frog or squirrel can beat him. Until Benny turns up.

Lenny and Benny have the best time in the world together but when Lenny realises that Benny can jump further than he can, he accuses him of cheating and lying and refuses to see him ever again.

Time passes and Benny decides to have a party. He invites everybody except Lenny, but the postman accidentally delivers an invitation anyway. Lenny, ready to be friends again, is delighted. However, when he turns up, Benny is enraged, calls him a liar and says he never wants to see him again.

But Lenny and Benny did once have the best time in the world together. Is any argument worth losing such a great friendship over?

Inspired by the midrash about Kamtza and Bar-Kamtza, in which an inter-communal squabble ultimately leads to the destruction of the Second Temple, this is a story about the importance and joy of friendship, the futility of conflict and how destructive an unresolved argument can be.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This story of conflict is told in a different form, through an illustrated book featuring Lenny and Benny. Lenny is a bunny who is practicing for a competition. He can jump very high over the magical, illustrated land he lives in. Benny is also a rabbit, one who recently met Lenny! Lenny gets upset because Benny begins to beat him. Benny tries to make up for it, but it's very difficult.

This little tale tells the story of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza in a different and unique way. This is a story I hadn't heard of and decided to look up because of this book! I do enjoy learning something new. The actual story is retold in the back for anyone who wants a review or wants to learn like I did.

This book was incredible! I think it's a great way to teach a religious tale and make it fun and interactive. I highly recommend!

Five out of five stars.

NetGalley, Briar Ramses

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

First, the simple blue and red cover caught my eyes. I love the illustrations.
Second, I like this adapted version of a tale. It's easy for little kids to comprehends. And the original tale is added in the back of the book made me understanding the story more.
Lastly, this story tells and teaches us how to be kind, how to control our anger.

NetGalley, Lisa Fang

LENNY AND BENNY by Naama Benziman retells the story of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza from the Talmud. The story of the fall of Jerusalem is retold in a way that explains the historical significance of the tale, but it is so well-illustrated and clearly-told that it appeals to a secular eye as well. This is another children’s publication on the @green_bean_books imprint of @penswordbooks

Lenny prides himself on his leaping abilities. When his friend Benny starts practising and can jump higher than him, Lenny cannot take it and he flies off into Trump-like indignance. Despite Benny’s persistent offers of friendship, Lenny cannot see past his anger, and so he loses a friend.

A while later, Lenny receives an invitation to Benny’s party, but it was sent in error. When Lenny attends, finally seeking to make amends, Benny humiliates him. This story ends nicely, when both of them have settled down, and Benziman then explains how the original story panned out differently.

I read with an atheistic lens, and see this as a timeless parable about level-headedness. The spritely illustrations in red and blue are noteworthy, especially when capturing the intense frustration of the feuding rabbits (or hares?).

NetGalley, Jonny Walker

A book about the importance of friendship and forgivenness, there is another story that this is loosely based upon thats been written into the book and adds a little bit of Jewish history. (Interesting for me also as I didn't realise and learnt something also) I found the illustration and colouring unusual but I really liked it because it highlighted emotions that could be felt within the book such as blue for saddness and red for anger and conflict and I felt that set the scene but not sure if it was intentional.

This book discovers anger, conflict and how others can feel hurt, important feelings for little ones and also feelings kids can feel every day with friends, family and siblings.

I really liked how forgiveness was a part of this story it's so easy for little ones to make and break friends but it's so much nicer to try and put aside any differences and learn to forgive. An important lesson for them which I loved, the girls had questions and wanted to know more and discuss about feelings which weren't nice or happy and I liked that this book explored that!

NetGalley, Lucy G

A reimagining of a story from the Talmud, this story is a good life lesson for children in what holding a grudge can do. Plus the illustrations are striking in only red and blue.

NetGalley, Emilee Meeks

This is a nice story about friendship and the power of forgiveness. Rabbits, Lenny and Benny, fall out over who can jump the highest and stop talking to each other. Benny tries to make amends but Lenny isn't interested. When the postman accidentally invites Lenny to Benny's amazing party, Lenny decides that perhaps he is ready to be friends with Benny now, but when he arrives at the party, Benny is cross and sends him away. It takes a long time before Benny looks at the gift Lenny left behind and makes a decision about their friendship.

I particularly liked the way that colour was used in this book, with one colour being used for each of the rabbits and the text associated with them and all of the other animals in the story using a combination of the two. It made the story easy to follow. I also liked learning about the tale from the Talmud, that inspired this story.

NetGalley, Georgina Carter

Lenny and Benny is a cute but important story for children about friendship and forgiveness.
This story is based on another story of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza set in the days before the destruction of the second temple in Jerusalem but told in a child friendly way.
Lenny is the champion jumper of the forest. He befriends another rabbit called Benny from the other side of the forest and they have the 'best day ever' together until Lenny realises Benny can out jump him. Lenny calls Benny a cheat and they fall out.
Benny tries his best to make friends with Lenny but Lenny is very stubborn and will not mend his friendship with Benny.
One day Lenny receives a party invitation from Benny (which was meant for someone else), but when he arrives at the party he is called a liar and sent away.

This story teaches children about conflict, hurt, anger and friendship as well as forgiveness.

NetGalley, Natalie Horman

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is just the kind of book we need now for the reality check on ourselves when we think that whatever we do, think and feel are the most important to us. Yes, they are! But it's also time to start thinking how our behaviour affects people around us. I know it's out right to be angry when we are wronged. But is it okay to be angry forever with someone who you were the happiest with once?

This small book means a lot to me. Yes, historically relevant but the author has made the story shorter and less provoking in terms of the concepts of hatred and wars.

I find this quite thoughtful and fit for the younger children to read.

I totally fell in love with the unique illustrations and the distinct, subtle colours used.

NetGalley, Reading Tamishly

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I thought that this book was really great and the images in the book suited the story perfectly.

It has a lovely flow to it and it is very well written too and my daughter really enjoyed it so it was always going to be a hit with me of she enjoyed it.

I thought that the characters were lovely and this was a great and different way to tell a traditional story – it had a great moral to the story and I liked the messages of friendship and forgiveness too.

It is 5 stars from me for this one, very highly recommended!

NetGalley, Donna Maguire

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Lenny is the best jumper in the forest... That is until Benny arrives and it all goes downhill in their relationship from them on. Until Benny has a party for his birthday. Lenny is invited by mistake and tries to patch things up, but Benny is still angry.
Can they ever be friends again?

I really liked this story. It is a lovely way to teach children the value of forgiveness and understanding. It can also teach them how to deal with certain feeling like anger.

The author also took the time to write the story which inspired this book. I didn't know the story so it was nice to learn something new.

NetGalley, Ángela Gorosito

This story is a retelling of another story that I am not aware of!
This book teaches you about friendship, falling out, misunderstandings, and that sometimes your friends are better at something than you are.
Cute little illustrations too.
Great little book.

NetGalley, Kirstie Jones

I did not realise this is a modern take on the Talmud story of Kamtza and Bar-Kamtza, nor did I know the original. But thanks to this ARC I know both now.
A story about friendship and the loss of it through envy, about making up and misunderstanding and perseverance - a good lesson to children...and adults!
Paired with very charming drawings in just two primary colours, it’s a perfect moral tale.

NetGalley, Anne McCormick

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A delightful and interesting retelling of a story! The artwork is absolutely stunning and the story is very interesting. I found the retelling with it’s alternative ending to be a nice read for kids! I would definitely recommend it! It deals with friendship, forgiveness, and how misunderstandings and unresolved arguments can be destructive to friendships.

NetGalley, Ashley Dang

About Naama Benziman

Naama Benziman is an award-winning Israeli artist, illustrator, curator, editor and author. She exhibits internationally and lectures on Illustration and Visual Literacy at Israel’s top visual arts academies. Her previous books for children are Emilia and Albert’s Tall Hat, both published in Hebrew by Am Oved. Born in Jerusalem, she now lives in Tel Aviv.


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