Lenny and Benny

Naama Benziman

Date Published :
April 2021
Publisher :
Green Bean Books
Illustration :
Illustrated throughout
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781784386221

Dimensions : 8.25 X 6.5 inches
Stock Status : In stockPages : 48
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Lenny lives on the edge of the forest. He spends his days tending his roses, drinking cocoa and practicing 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 realizes 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.

About The Author

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.


"A sweet story of friendship and forgiveness with which many readers can identify"

- Association of Jewish Libraries

"The midrashic story of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza is a traditional Jewish morality tale used to illustrate the principle of baseless hatred, considered so egregious and widespread in the latter days of the Jerusalem Temple, that it was thought to be the source of the Temple’s destruction in 70 CE. Lenny and Benny, by Naama Benziman, is an updated version of this tale. The story takes place in a pristine forest populated only by wildlife, where envy, revenge, and betrayal continue to exist… In contrast to Lenny and Benny​’s happy ending, the story of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza ends on a tragic note, with no peaceful resolution. Benziman includes a summary of the traditional story and a note reminding the reader about the value of kindness, with tips on how to handle anger. The reader leaves knowing that a happier ending is not only possible, but is achievable through action. The lesson is gently told, with no didactic overtones, and Benziman’s seemingly simple line drawings are teeming with detail far more complex than is evident at first glance, using color to clearly differentiate the characters.  Overall, Lenny and Benny tells an important story for each succeeding generation to internalize and act upon. It would be of great use in both classroom discussions and in family settings, making this charming new version of an ancient tale highly recommended."

- Jewish Book Council

Lenny and Benny is a contemporary retelling of the Kamtza and Bar Kamtza midrash about the value of friendship and the dangers of baseless hate and anger… Lenny and Benny is richly illustrated with whimsical and deceptively simple blue-and-red line drawings that are bursting with detail. These images help ease the intensity of the anger and arguing for young audiences..The story is well crafted with positive and constructive Jewish content. It’s appropriate for picture book audiences, with an active storyline (jumping competitions! birthday party! animals!), vibrant illustrations, and accessible vocabulary. The blending of a contemporary tale with the ancient midrash give this book both religious and cultural relevancy.

- The Sydney Taylor Shmooze Blog

"Friendship and courage are centre stage in Lenny and Benny by Naama Benziman.We all know how problematic a broiges can be at a simcha. Even for Rabb its, Lenny and Benny are great pals. They drink cocoa, eat cookies and have the best time — until Benny beats Lenny at jumping. Cue accusations of cheating and adorable rabbit tantrums — escalating when Lenny is humiliated at Benny’s birthday party. Benziman deftly conveys the rabbit’s emotions, illustrating an enchanting forest world with an incredible intricacy, purely in red and blue on white.  After the touching (and instructive) denouement, a parallel is draw with the dispute of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza in 70 CE, said to have caused the destruction of Jerusalem."

- Angela Kiverstein, The Jewish Chronicle