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Golem by David Wisniewski
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A Jewish rabbi created a shapeless man out of clay to protect the Jews from persecution in Prague in 1580. But sadly, the giant man, Golem, had to be returned to clay once his job was done. This is a unique book with cut paper pieces to form the illustrations. It would be a truly unique way to teach kids about the persecution of Jew that occurred way before the holocaust. Includes a note from the author about Jewish history. ( )
  JenniferSprinkle | Aug 5, 2019 |
An excellent introduction to a traditional Jewish folktale around an incident in their European history. The Golem's desire to live gives him a more human face, less scary for children. ( )
  lisaladdvt | Jun 11, 2019 |
Top 100 Pick because:

The straightforward, unassuming nature of the text is juxtaposed with the fantasical and layed cut paper style collage to visually portray the story. As the Golem is given life by a faithful Jewish Rabbi, the pictures give life and meaning to the non-hyperbolic tone of the words. I love the way Wisniewski uses cut paper to piece together the rich cultural and social history of the Jewish people. The images are dark and dramatic, inferring the tension and danger present in the stories narrative. I don't necessarily think the images further the story with new or hidden information. They complement what is being said, and provide a stunning representation of what the text offers, but overall do not share secret messages that add new meaning. That being said the text and illustrations are beautifully rendered and the Caldecott Medal is well deserved. I also love the way the Golem is depicted. Even though the illustrations are collages, the Golem is given expressions and human emotions that makes the reader sympathize with him and his desire to live.
Finally, Wisniewski adds a one page note at the end of the book, providing extra historical and cultural context that invites readers to further explore the true story behind this one.
**Stories that discuss history, culture, religion and other social themes really make me feel invested. ( )
  EMiMIB | Jun 8, 2019 |
The story of Golem is one that has been told across several continents and has worked its way into the folklore of a variety of cultures. This particular rendition centers around a town in the 1600's in Eastern Europe where the local Jews were being tormented and treated cruelly. It has a much darker atmosphere from the dark, cutting illustrations, to the matter-of-fact style of speak used by the Rabbi and other characters in the story. A local Rabbi builds a giant clay Golem in which he inscribed the word "Emet" on his head. "Emet" is the Hebrew word for "life" and when he carved this word into the clay giant's forehead it brought him to life. The Rabbi told him that his only purpose was to protect the Jews which he began doing right away. But when the time came when he was no longer needed, the Rabbi erases the first letter from the Golem's forehead so that it read "met" or "death" and the giant crashed to the ground in a pile of clay. The story concludes in a way that many Jewish stories end with a ray of hope when they mention that the Golem was locked away in the Temple in case there ever came a day when he might need to protect the Jewish people again. ( )
  Noahedels | Oct 23, 2018 |
During a politically tense time when the Jews are being persecuted in Prague, Rabbi Leow summons life in clay. The clay being, Golem, is charged with protecting the Jews. He does, and comes to love life. When his job is done, he again returns to clay and is left in "dreamless sleep". ( )
  steffsweet | Feb 11, 2018 |
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c. 1 Brodell Family
c. 2 Cramer - Barash Family
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Book description
Retold from traditional sources and accompanied by David Wisniewski's unique cut-paper illustrations, Golem is a dramatic tale of supernatural forces invoked to save an oppressed people. It also offers a thought-provoking look at the consequences of unleashing power beyond human control. The afterword discusses the legend of the golem and its roots in the history of the Jews. A Caldecott Medal Book.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0395726182, Hardcover)

Golem is the Hebrew word for shapeless man. According to Jewish legend, the renowned scholar and teacher Rabbi Loew used his powers to create a Golem from clay in order to protect his people from persecution in the ghettos of 16th-century Prague. (This was the time of the Blood Lie, when hostile gentiles claimed that Jews were mixing the blood of Christian children with the flour and water of matzo.) David Wisniewski's cut-paper collage illustrations--which earned him the Caldecott Medal in 1997--are the ideal medium for portraying the stark black-and-white forces of good and evil, pride and prejudice, as well as the gray area that emerges when the tormented clay giant loses control of his anger. Echoing the tension and mood of Frankenstein, Wisniewski sends the tragic giant back to the blood red earth that birthed him. The historical note on the last page offers a broader context for the legend, ultimately comparing the creation of Golem to the emergence of Israel. (Ages 8 and older) --Gail Hudson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:04 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A saintly rabbi miraculously brings to life a clay giant who helps him watch over the Jews of sixteenth-century Prague.

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