Written by Ivor Baddiel
Illustrated by Zoom Rockman
An appealing story about aliens, adventure and family
A fun read for children, especially anyone interest in space!
The story shows how feeling connected to the past and a family’s culture can be a good basis for building confidence
Ben Jacobs has made a list of everything that could possibly go wrong at his bar mitzvah, but even he didn’t foresee that the shul might disappear just days before the celebration.
The trouble is, no one believes him, apart from Grandpa. The rest of his family just carry on as normal… except now they are behaving rather oddly. And there’s a strange light in the woods behind the house, and some huge glowing egg-shaped objects appear at night. Is it just Ben’s over-active imagination, as Mum and Dad say, or is something more sinister taking place?
Ben turns to Grandpa for help, and together the two of them hatch a plan to save the world – and Ben’s bar mitzvah.
This zany and fun story of family, adventure and imagination is also about gaining confidence and growing up. Ben learns courage and builds belief in himself as a member of his family and the wider community.
Ivor Baddiel is a scriptwriter and author. His television and radio credits include the BAFTAs, the Brits, the National Television Awards, Soccer Aid, Mock The Week, The X Factor, The Voice, Off Their Rockers, Dancing On Ice, I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, Loose Ends, Fighting Talk, Dead Ringers and Hot Gossip.
He has written for many people including Stephen Fry, Graham Norton, David Walliams, Bruce Forsyth, Claudia Winkleman, Miranda Hart, Dara O’Briain, Paddy McGuiness, Joan Rivers, Jack Whitehall, Mel and Sue, Dermot O’Leary and Ant and Dec.
Ivor is also the author of twenty-three books for both children and adults. You can read about why he wrote this book here.
‘A different coming of age challenge awaits the hero of Ben’s Bonkers Bar Mitzvah by Ivor Baddiel in the form of a disappearing shul and an alien invasion. Luckily for Ben, he has a sympathetic grandpa as wingman because the rest of his household are oblivious to the extra-terrestrial attack. This enjoyably madcap adventure delivers just the right balance of chaotic humour and Torah wisdom. Ebulliently illustrated by Zoom Rockman.’ — Angela Kilverstein, The Jewish Chronicle
‘Ben’s bar mitzvah is rapidly approaching, and he is both excited and nervous. So many things can go wrong. Will he be able to handle the pressures? Will the bar mitzvah be a grand success? He hopes to satisfy his family and friends on this highly anticipated occasion.
Then strange things begin to happen at his synagogue and in his family. Ben wonders whether his imagination is getting the better of him. It seems that a group of aliens is using his shul and its members to stage a takeover of the Earth and make it their own planet — and Ben is the only one who understands their nefarious plot. With the help of his caring grandfather, Ben hatches a successful plan to save the world, just in time to celebrate his bar mitzvah.
This sci-fi book is humorous and engrossing, with black-and-white drawings that add to its overall charm. Ben’s relationship with his grandfather is a model of intergenerational communication and trust; and his growing confidence in his own abilities serves as an excellent message. Somehow, the author makes the alien takeover and Ben’s reaction to it seem almost plausible. We watch Ben and his grandfather demonstrate ingenuity as they outwit the foe and keep their community safe and sound. All’s well by the end, when Ben’s bar mitzvah proceeds as planned. His family admires his initiative, and the aliens find a new planet that they can call home.’ — Michal Hoschander Malen, Jewish Book Council
‘This zany and fun story of family, adventure and imagination is also about gaining confidence and growing up. Ben learns courage and builds belief in himself as a member of his family and the wider community’ — Jewish Book Council