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Golem by David Wisniewski
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Golem (edition 2007)

by David Wisniewski

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4784821,584 (3.91)8
Member:JessicaABaker
Title:Golem
Authors:David Wisniewski
Info:Sandpiper (2007), Paperback, 32 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:traditional tales

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Golem by David Wisniewski

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This is a legend about supernatural forces that are supposed to help people that are oppressed. The illustrations were dark, but the purpose becomes clear as the story continues. This would be better for older children as younger ones might become afraid of the story line. ( )
  dorthys | Mar 15, 2015 |
Through magic spells a clay man is brought to life for the purpose of vanquishing those who persecuted the Jews of Prague. The illustrations in this book were so dark and amazing!
  barbarashuler | Mar 11, 2015 |
This fable from the Jewish European tradition is a story about a struggling jewish community in Prague. They call upon a Giant made of living clay to protect them and bring justice to their people.
  b_Campbell | Mar 8, 2015 |
This story is about Prague in 1580 where Jews are being persecuted and being accused of mixing blood of Christian children with flour and water from the unleavened Passover bread. In order to save the Jews, a rabbi, his son-in-law, and his best student create a Golem, a man made of clay from the Earth and given life through power from God. The Golem hides among the people during the day and at night he protects the Jews in their ghetto. When the ghetto is attacked, the Golem defends the Jews and chases away the attackers, prompting those persecuting the Jews to agree to stop the attacks. After the Jews are safe, Golem is put back into the Earth where he would rest until the time that the Jews would need him again.

I didn’t like the ending of this story. I understood the message behind it and the overall plot, however, the I didn’t like the treatment of the Golem. I found that the way of ‘killing’ the Golem—while he begged for his life—was cruel and it gave off an overall air that it is okay to get rid of things that are no longer of use. I would be hesitant to introduce the story into my classroom library, due to the death of the Golem at the end.

Classroom Extensions:
1. I would set up a station where children would be able to create their own clay Golems.
2. We could discuss other periods of time in which the Golem could have been ‘awakened’ to help defend the Jews.
  GSoto95 | Feb 10, 2015 |
I found this book to be quite intense for a child, both with the story line as well as the artwork. I was quite disappointed to read this story. At one point, the Rabbi claims Golem is a servant of Israel, yet the state of Israel did not exist until 1948 through the Balfour Declaration thanks to the British. I was also disturbed by the idea that the Jews were so upset about being in a walled city, yet that is the situation of the Palestinians now. Maybe I brought too much of my own personal bias to the table when I read this book, but it is definitely not a book I would read to any child.
  InstantLaila | Dec 7, 2014 |
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c. 1 Brodell Family
c. 2 Cramer - Barash Family
c. 3 Michael & Debra Davis
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:42 -0400)

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

(summary from another edition)

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