Title: Golem Author: David Wisniewski Illustrator: David Wisniewski Publisher: New York; Clarion Books
Genre: Caldecott Level: Intermediate Number of pages: 28 Pub. Date: 1996
Golem is the story of a Jewish Rabbi who makes a giant out of clay. The giant, named Golem is created to save the Jewish People from the rumors that are being spread around Prague about them. Golem does everything the Rabbi tells him and learns to love life. When people attack the Jewish Ghetto, Golem saves the Jews. The emperor of Prague calls the Rabbi to him and asks him if Golem is going to kill his country. The Rabbi explains that Golem is only there to protect the Jews. The emperor guarantees the Jewish people safety and Golem is destroyed.
The letter in this book is unusual because it is dark type on dark backgrounds. This helps to create an ominous feeling through out the book. The type is smaller than that of a picture book and does not get in the way of the art. Wisniewski provides a place in all of his pictures for the type of the book to lie out of the way. This area is usually a small square area either in the top corner or bottom center of the page. Although there is no border, the art does not extend into this area making it seem like there is an invisible border.
I thought that this story was a bit creepy for a children’s book. When Golem is protecting the Jewish People from the angry mob the illustration is scary. Golem looks evil and seems like he is going to kill people. Also the idea of clay coming to life is a relatively frightening concept for a children’s book. This has led me to categorize this as an intermediate level book even though it is a picture book. I did like how David Wisniewski provided notes at the end of the story to provide more information about the story that he tells. This information would be useful if teachers were going to use this book to create a lesson or if they wanted to teach about the Jewish culture.
During: Students will make predict during the story if they think Golem is going to end up being a good or bad characters.
After: Students will compare Golem to other Giants from famous stories. Ex: Jack and the Beanstalk or David and Goliath.