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Parents' Guide to


By Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Giant legend too heady and scary for little ones.

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The multi-layered cut-paper illustrations of GOLEM are magnificent, and are a good enough reason to own this book. They're definitely the reason it won the Caldecott medal in 1997. The pages with the intricately cut clouds and mist are particularly impressive. Throughout, David Wisniewski has manipulated Color-Aid, coral, and bark paper to create this haunting adaptation of this somewhat scary and sad Jewish legend.

The story here has been simplified, which makes it more accessible to young readers. However, they may not be the appropriate audience. Readers should be old enough to learn about the persecution of the Jews, accept that a man (even the holiest of rabbis) could create a giant from clay, understand why the giant was heroic for his violent overthrow of the oppressors, and most importantly, get why the rabbi has to return the Golem to earth even as the monster pleads, like a child to his father, that he wants to live. Readers who are ready for this story might be better served by Isaac Bashevis Singer's longer, more complete, and richer version, also called The Golem.

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