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How to Make a Golem (and Terrify People) Paperback – January 1, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 239 pages
  • Publisher: Floris Books (January 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0863158404
  • ISBN-13: 978-0863158407
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,405,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


'I found myself irreversibly drawn into Alette Willis' story. Fans of coming-of-age novels with a supernatural bent will certainly enjoy this one ... The ease in reading came from the writing style - the just-enough-details set at a clipped pace writing that is common in books for middle school and early young adult readers - as well as the magnetic attraction of the story itself. The more I read of Edda and Michael, the more time I wanted to spend with her ... I really enjoyed reading How To Make A Golem. It was a solid, magical middle school novel with a likeable and utterly relateable main protagonist and a well-written cast of characters in a vividly set Scottish town.' -- 'Alette Willis has written a truly gothic story. It is suffused with the scary and the mystical. But it never gets nasty or genuinely horrific like many of the vampire stories prevalent these days. The ups and downs of friendships are expertly and realistically expressed ... this book makes for a very gripping and interesting read. Lots of things are hinted at which (young) adults might like to explore further and which give it the right authenticity to keep young teenagers engaged ... How to Make a Golem and Terrify People is a book well worth reading.' -- Anna Phillips, New View 'How to Make a Golem and Terrify People is a book many children will find something of themselves in ... I love children's books that are relatable, and do not talk down to readers. Edda has to deal with some pretty big problems, but some common issues as well. There are small and large ideas all rolled up on this relatively easy read. I think that everyone can glean something from this read, including enjoyment ... I think that How to Make a Golem and Terrify People is a very well written and well paced book. The dialogue and actions of the characters are realistic, even when strange things happen ... I highly recommend this novel to children ten years and older, with nothing stopping younger readers from enjoying this story. I think teachers, parents and any adult that enjoys children's literature will enjoy this novel as well.' -- Sharon the Librarian blog 'I enjoyed the voice of this book from the get-go. The characters were alive, the storyline was perfectly paced -- with the PERFECT amount of spine tingles and creepiness thrown in -- and the ending worked perfectly. I read it easily in one day, and the longer I sat reading it, the more curious my kids become. It is now in the hands of my 9-year-old son ... I wholeheartedly recommend this one. It was an absolute pleasure.' -- Book Dreaming blog 'How to Make a Golem and Terrify People made me smile a lot. That's saying something, since right before reading this I was in a bit of a reading slump. I just don't know how you can feel down when adorable Scottish children are romping about on the pages of a book, getting into all sorts of mischief and mayhem. Add in a little bit of alchemy and a few life lessons, and you have a story that is a great read ... My final verdict on How to Make a Golem and Terrify People is that it is good, clean and fun reading! By the end I was wishing there was more, but then again I'm a sucker for cute protagonists. If you have a younger reader at home who enjoys an adventure, this is for them! A little bit of alchemy and a lot of friendship come together in perfect harmony to create a story that is a sweet and enjoyable read.' -- 'This book is a page-turner... Despite the title, this book isn't a horror book. It's more of a fantasy/thriller kind of book. It was well-paced and the descriptions were vivid, which was very important since the book is being told from Edda's point-of-view, and as an artist, Edda should be able to describe things well. *****' -- 'How to Make a Golem and Terrify People was a heartwarming book that presented some very real issues -- dealing with fear, bullying, personal safety in one's home -- in a magical way ... How to Make a Golem and Terrify People was a charming story about the power of friendship and self-worth, and I very much enjoyed watching Edda learn and grow in her quest to defeat fear. This book proclaims that ever-true montra: be careful what you wish for.' -- Bunbury in the Stacks blog 'This book was fantastic. I read it in a couple of hours, and I haven't read a book straight through in a while. It's well-written, and uses the awesome British humor I love so much. It's also got the sarcasm you'd expect to find in a thirteen year old girl (the story is told in first person). The dialogue between the characters is great.' -- In Case of Survival Blog 'Alette J. Willis does a wonderful job writing this coming-of-age story ... this is the kind of book I will want my daughter to read as she gets older and Edda is the kind of character I want her looking up to and relating to ... This is ultimately a story about friendships, believing in yourself, working together, and facing your fears ... just-right amount of suspense and monsters for the younger readers, we can all be happy with it. I would definitely recommend How to Make a Golem and Terrify People to anyone over the age of eight.' -- Writing My Own Fairy Tale blog 'Willis delivers some nicely creepy touches even though her aim seems to be more about giving readers lessons than chills.' -- Booklist Online, May 2012 'a really good book ... good for people approaching high school' -- Teen Titles

About the Author

Alette Willis was born in Britain but brought up and educated in Canada. She and her husband moved to Edinburgh three years ago. After gaining success writing short stories for adults, she returned to her first love, children's fiction. For the past two years she has volunteered as a Talking Trees Storyteller at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. She currently works at Edinburgh University as a teaching fellow and researcher.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kale on February 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
Willis' well written tale of a girl and her golem was filled with wonderful lessons of bullying, bravery, and friendship.

Edda's turning twelve, unfortunately her big day is ruined when her happy and safe home is violated. Thieves not only took her gifts, they stole her security as well. When she meets the peculiar Michael Scot he offers her a way to be brave and safe with a little help from a golem.

Edda should know, always be careful what you wish for. When her wish does come true but is more hazardous than she imagined, Edda the mouse will have to employ her new found courage, make amends with her best friend, and enlist the help of her worst enemy to set things right.

I found the pacing slow throughout most of the book, while things did pick up at the end, the story wasn't as exciting as I would have liked to keep me interested, but I don't think that will deter the tome's intended audience. While I don't think the book was for me, it does have merits. The book has a solid foundation, the story lines were thought out and executed well. Plus there were plenty of positive underlying themes for young readers.
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Format: Paperback
"It's easier to believe in things after dark."

Edda the Mouse is turning thirteen, and her greatest birthday wish is to shed her demeaning nickname and become Edda the Brave. This is hard when she's moved around so often she's constantly the new girl, ruthlessly picked on by Euan, and worst of all, her family's house is broken into and robbed while her and her parents are out for her birthday dinner. Edda loses her presents, her stereo, but more than that she loses her sense of safety in her own home. When she meets the new kid at school, Michael Scot, he seems to present the opportunity Edda is looking for--a way to lose her fear. But could Michael Scot's plan to make a golem to protect Edda and her home be real?

I first heard about the wizard/alchemist Michael Scot when I recently read The Thirteen Hallows. I didn't love that book, but my favorite aspect of it was the folklore it presented, and Michael Scot was one of the people mentioned that I spent some time reading about. Thus, when I saw How to Make a Golem and Terrify People with its adorable cover and synopsis mentioning the famed alchemist himself, I knew I had to read it.

How to Make a Golem and Terrify People was a heartwarming book that presented some very real issues--dealing with fear, bullying, personal safety in one's home--in a magical way. Losing one's sense of safety at home is such an invasion, and this book reflected it well in both Edda and her mother's strong reactions to the act. Edda wants to feel safe again, but she also doesn't want to abandon the place that for the first time in her life is beginning to feel like home. For the first time Edda has a best friend, and even though she is picked on by the bully, Euan, she wants to stay.
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By Word Nerd on February 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
For the first time in her life, Edda has lived in the same place for over a year. She has a best friend...and a bully. Her life is normal, average and just what she desires. That world is turned upside down when her family returns to find their home burglarized and Edda is plunged into a world of fears.

As she fights to keep her fears from overwhelming her, she makes an unlikely alliance with an awkward and arrogant boy in her class. Initially wary, Edda is won over by Michael's uncanny knack for always showing up exactly when he is needed. She is easily convinced when he determines she needs to create a magical mud man, or golem, to rid her of her fears.

Willis does a nice job of making Edda the "everyman" for kids. She touches on childhood fears felt across the world, everything from bullies to what might be lurking in the dark. The sketches scattered throughout the book give it a slightly Poe-esque feel, making Edda's feelings all the more real to the reader.

How to Make a Golem and Terrify People is a stand alone book and does not seem to be setting up for a sequel, which makes it unique in the juvenile book world.

My verdict: Read it. This is definitely a juvenile fiction and I would recommend it for ages 9 to 11 (or there about). It would be a wonderful choice to read with a child who is experiencing their own fears, or with a group of children, as it does address how to overcome fear without actually creating a magical mud monster.
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