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Golem by David Wisniewski
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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. A Caldecott Medal Book.
  cameroneshaw | Jul 15, 2015 |
Wisniewski's spectacular cut-paper illustrations help tell the story of Golem, a shapeless monster of Jewish lore.The Jewish legend of Rabbi Judah Loew and the creature he created to save the Jews of Prague from destruction in 1580 is told in dramatic fashion.
  aartik | Jul 12, 2015 |
The book Golem with story and illustrations by David Wisniewski is a detailed story of a legend in the Jewish culture. In the note in the back of the book I found that Golem is the Hebrew word for shapeless mass. The story is indeed about a shapeless mass of clay who is brought to life to protect the Jewish people. He guards the Jewish people and grows and grows with every attack. He captures people who spread "lies" about the Jews and gives them to the authorities to incarcerate. In the end he becomes too large and violence ensues and the leaders decide to return him to the earth.

This story is very historical in nature. I am unfamiliar with the Jewish culture and found it an interesting story, but felt like I needed more information. I found the note in the back of the book to be very helpful, explaining customs and beliefs the Jewish people have. I would recommend reading that first if you are unfamiliar with Jewish practices.

The artwork is "paper-cut" illustrations in varying degrees of brown, yellow, orange, black, white and red. The depictions seem dark in nature, and give the book a wizardry/ fantasy feel.

I think this story is ideal for children of the Jewish culture and children of other cultures, in that it brings understanding of historical events, as well as a cultural legend, to life. I feel this book gives an excellent opportunity for education and understanding of Jewish people. ( )
  krich1974 | Jul 7, 2015 |
C+ This is hard to rate.... The truth is we didn't really like it much. Although the illustrations were well done the words have an almost textbook-y feel to them. However, I think part of the problem is that my six year old granddaughter is a little young for this book.
  burtmiller | Jun 6, 2015 |
Golem is the story of a legend passed down through Jewish culture for many years. The legend starts in a time when many Jews were being persecuted and in need of help from something greater than themselves. The rabbi of Prague decides to call upon the giant Golem, a creature they made from clay to help protect the Jews.
The author, David Wisniewski, pulls the reader into the story through his descriptive language and fantastic word choice. As the giant stands guard by the city protecting the Jews until the danger fades away the reader begins to wonder if bring about Golem was really a good idea. Will Golem willingly return to the ground that he came from?
Not only Wisniewski's word choice but his artwork is incredible. The paper cut outs used for the illustrations are so vivid and detailed. Their beauty is striking and truly shows the power that Golem holds. The beauty of the pictures mixed with their vivid power and peace holds the reader captive, as if they can't take their eyes off the page.
When the reader finally turns the page they begin to see Golem's reluctance to end his life as he nears the end of his job. The curiosity and worry builds as Golem refuses to return to the ground forcing the rabbi to action. Their confrontation full of power can be seen once again the the amazing visual and linguistic descriptions leaving the reader wanting more. ( )
  ejoy13 | Apr 11, 2015 |
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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)

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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