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The Golem: A Version Hardcover – October, 1996

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Holiday House; 1st edition (October 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823409643
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823409648
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 5.7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,072,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

According to legend, some four centuries or so ago a Rabbi in Prague dreamt that the Lord commanded him to create a creature to protect Jews from those who would do them wrong. The Rabbi fashioned a giant from clay and, with the help of a cabalistic spell, brought the creature to life. The story, of course, served as the basis for Frankenstein. Barbara Rogasky, who has retold other traditional stories in such previous books as Rapunzel and The Water of Life: A Tale from the Brothers Grimm, brings the 400-year-old story back to life with The Golem.

From Publishers Weekly

Working with the Jewish legend that also inspired David Wisniewski's new picture book (reviewed p. 83) and a novel-length retelling by Isaac Bashevis Singer (see p. 85), Rogasky (Smoke and Ashes: The Story of the Holocaust) goes beyond the story of the Golem's creation and mission in combating the anti-Semitism of 16th-century Prague to weave in folklore about his doings, both antic and tragic. While she is unflinching in her portraits of the degrading poverty and false accusations suffered by the Jews, Rogasky also mixes in a few broadly comic elements, as in a chapter in which the Golem goes to market and returns with an entire stall, vendor and all. Rabbi Loew, a model of eloquence in the Wisniewski version, here speaks with a folksy inflection: "What's to be afraid?" he says to his wife, who is startled at the sight of the Golem. For the most part, the tone is somber: "The story here is one of blood and murder. Hatred is its root. In hatred there is evil, and in evil there is madness." Caldecott Medalist Hyman (St. George and the Dragon) makes the monstrous Golem and the aged rabbi almost as romantic as fairy tale princesses. Her inky watercolors lend depth to a sprawling tale that vacillates somewhat unsuccessfully between horror and humor, but which admirably captures the strange slavishness of the Golem and the violent climate of a black age. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By curve on July 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
While looking for books to supply my afterschool program, I found this book on the bargain shelf at our local bookstore. The book is broken down into several chapters that span the "life" of the golem "hero". The engrossing illustrations in Barbara Rogasky's book draw you into the ghetto life and the style is reminiscent of comic art which held an immediate appeal to the 8 and 9-year-old boys who were into anime, trading cards and fantasy action figures. One boy, an avid reader of the Harry Potter series, asked to take the book home so many times, I eventually gave it to him!

I was asked many questions about the unfamiliar terms used in the book as well as "why did the Christian's hate the Jews so much". As a teacher and a Jew working in an ethnically mixed community with a zero Jewish population, I found this an interesting challenge.

I explained that many people, not just Christians, wanted to hurt the Jews because they were afraid of people who were different from themselves. We talked a bit about people in the community who are different from us and how we feel about them. This helped them see why people might become afraid of things they don't understand. I followed it up by saying that we all need to understand and accept people who are different from us so we can live in peace.

Genrally, this tale is concerned with good and evil, right and wrong. From an education perspective, this book can be used as an introduction to the historical persecution of the Jews.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark Alvarado on February 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One must keep in mind that the book is based on Jewish lore, and one must go into this story with AN OPEN MIND. Remember, it's a story. That being said, I'll try not to give a blow-by-blow, and try to stick to my review of this book.
It seemed to me that hatred was not the intent of this story, and I found it to be a good read. The author was not trying to point out hatred, merely how the Rabbi sought to deal with the pogroms to protect the Jews in his shtetl.
The illustrations throughout the book were very good, and I loved how one can explain through story telling and the illustrations, that a lack of understanding or acceptance of those that are from different backgrounds and religions have been used to repress a people, and how this type of depiction unfolded time and again throughout the book.
It deals very well with good vs. evil concepts, and the life in the ghetto (shtetl) dealing with all the pogroms inflicted on the Jews of the day based on a religious belief and practice.
Contrary to another review, while this story may not have been an exciting read to others, I found it very interesting and not denoting any "religious war", or an attack on faith. I find it odd to think that someone would not think such pogroms could NOT happen to a people based on their religion, as history has proven that this has happened time and time again. Anyway, I digress... Throughout the book, the reason, research done by the Rabbi, animation, investigation, action taken in response to transgression against the Jews, and the final dilemma of dealing with the termination of the Golem, all fell into place as each sub-story came to its fruition.
I like how the story is descriptive enough to give one a good mental picture of the shtetl, and daily life, and how the author explains just enough Judaica for the reader to understand the what's and why's if one hasn't been exposed to Judaism nor this type of story/lore.
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1 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Nick V. on May 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The 3rd and final book I read this trimester was called "The Golem". It is a version by Barbara Rogasky. This book is about how some Jews in the ghetto are under attack by Christians and other problems. So the high people in the Jewish religion there gather to create the Golem. The Golem is a creature that will do whatever you say, doesn't speak, and is invulnerable to death. So the golem helps fight off the Christian and the problems the Jews are having in the ghetto. From simple things like setting the table to killing a priest in the Christian faith. So as the story goes on they fend off the Christians who are attacking and they make a mistake. One day they forgot to tell the Golem to do something. So now he rampages through the town and destroys half the city. Now the high people in the Jewish faith to bring down the Golem that they created. So will the Golem be brought down? Will the Golem go and destroy the world? Read the book to find out.

This book wasn't very exciting to read it seemed like a religious war which I don't really like to ready since I am the faith they are attacking. I couldn't feel like I was in the book because it took place a long time ago and it wouldn't really happen I believe. The main conflict did not interest me because it was a religious war. I am so glad it was a semi-short book. The main characters were very realistic just sometimes there actions wouldn't really happen, I believe. The books ending was probably the only part that I actual enjoyed because they were chasing down the Golem and not having there religious war, which I hated.

The author's voice was in the first person view of the main Jewish rabbi. The author's use of vocabulary was sometimes interesting in some of the religious words I did not know and had to look up.
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