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4.5 out of 5 stars
The Golem's Latkes
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
In this book, Eric Kimmel combines the legend of the golem, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, and Hannukah. Doesn't sound like it all should fit, but it does, and it should be a fun story, particularly for young readers.

Rabbi Judah of Prague's got a lot to do before Hanukkah, and it's up to his new housemaid, Basha, to get the house ready for a party he's going to throw that night. She cajoles him into letting him get the golem to help. The golem, for those who don't know, was fashioned by Rabbi Judah to serve as the protector of the Jews of Prague. He's basically an automaton who will do whatever you ask, and keep doing it. In this case, Basha gets into trouble by asking him to make latkes then kipping off to her friend's house for a while. As you can imagine, the golem keeps making latkes until they overflow the house and begin to flood Prague. In the end, Basha proposes a solution to the problem, one that shouldn't be too surprising to adults but that kids might find quite a twist.

It's a well-told story, and the real star is the artwork. The golem looks simultaneously affable, hulking, and vaguely threatening, and 16th century Prague seems to come to life. There are plenty of chances for you to stop the story and spend time with your little one picking out little details in the art.

All in all, it's a nice little bedtime story for the season.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
. . . of an old Jewish folk-tale. (In the interest of historical accuracy, there was a "Rabbi Judah" who, according to some traditions, did, in fact, create a golem!)

In this charming Hanukkah story, Rabbi Judah leaves his home to visit the Emperor. While he was away, his lazy housekeeper figured that she could use the golem to make latkes -- but she forgot the magic words to make it stop! This lavishly illustrated children's story made me laugh out loud!

Highly recommended -- and not only throughout the Jewish population. This Catholic Christian enjoyed it thoroughly (as did the entire family!)
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 24, 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is another Chanukah story that really does not have a Chanukah theme.

The Rabbi leaves his maid to clean and prepare for the Festival of Lights (and miracles) while he visits the emperor, only to discover from the regal residence that his household help has disobeyed his instructions. The Rabbi had created a creature from clay -- the Golem --- which can help with anything but lacks speech much less the intelligence to stop working unless specifically ordered to stop --- "enough."

The good news is that the Golem, at the command of the Rabbi's maid, makes more than enough traditional Chanukah potato pancakes (latkes)for the entire city to eat, including the royal household.

The bad news is that there is nothing in this story about the reason for Chanukah, the reason for making latkes, or the reason the Rabbi embossed a "magic word" (Emet, or "truth" in Hebrew) into the clay head of the Golem.

This story is definitely based in Jewish lore, but there's no special Chanukah message, making this particular Eric Kimmel work a slight disappointment.

Cute but Kimmel's traditional strength -- sticking to Jewish themes in Jewish stories --- in this one has "gone fishing."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
What I like the most about this book is the beautiful artwork. The story is also good and, like an earlier reviewer said, this is a good "read aloud book" for young children.

Others have summed up the story, so I don't think I need to do it here. But I will stress how nice the illustrations are.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I love the art in this book and my daughter did too. My hubby read it to her, she is 3 in a couple weeks, and she was entertained the whole time. The story is sweet and a lighthearted intro to the Golem story.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2012
I purchased this title for our Sunday School students because I'm always looking for new Jewish holiday stories to read aloud and check out from our synagogue library. It was a hit with both the youngest students and the middle graders (some of whom had seen "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" in the film Fantasia and thus connected the two stories). The book is also a vehicle for relating the Golem legend to younger children.

It was checked out before the morning classes were over--always a sign that the book will be read again. Now I have to be certain it's returned so the next in line can get it!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2011
This is a wonderful book. There are not a lot of Chanukah books for children, the Sammy spider one is awful. This is a mixture of the Golum legend and the sorcerer's apprentice. It is a picture book, it is about a Golum that is told to make Latkes and naturally the girl leaves and the Golum keeps making them.

Highly recommended
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VINE VOICEon January 3, 2013
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
"The Golem's Latkes" is an amusing tale, perfect for children age 5 to 8. Rabbi Judah has made a Golem (a servant out of clay, come to life with a magic word "emet" meaning truth on his forehead)who helps out a great deal in his household. It is close to Hanukkah, and the Rabbi is very busy. He tells his housemaid Basha that the Golem will do whatever she asks-but that she cannot leave the house while he is working, as Golem does not know when to stop. Basha does not take the Rabbi's advice very seriously-she visits a friend, tells the Golem to make Latkes while she is gone, and she figures she will be back before anything bad happens. Basha looses track of the time, and the Golem keeps making Latkes-they pile up in the house, spill out, and soon are seen all over the city! The Rabbi comes back, alarmed, but then arrives at an ingenuous solution-and all is well.

Eric Kimmel's version of this story also seems like "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" in many ways-Kimmel also discusses this in the introduction to his story. The illustrations by Aaron Jasinski are beautiful, and add meaning and humor to the story. I liked this book-I would have liked more on the meaning of Hanukkah, what a Golem is (and its relation to the Frankenstein story by Mary Shelley as well), and traditional Jewish foods. I am not Jewish so I do not know the signifigance of Hanukkah, or a Golem, or anything about Jewish food. An afterword explaining these things would have made this review a five star one rather than a four star one.
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on December 24, 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This beautifully illustrated Hanukkah book is a delightful mix between the classic golem tale, Strega Nona and The Sorcerer's Apprentice. When Basha the housemaid is told the rabbi's Golem can help her make latkes for Hanukkah she can't resist visiting a friend while the golem is hard at work. Problem is, the golem will only stop working if someone says "Golem, enough!" As a result, the golem continues making latkes (his recipe goes: "Peel, chop, mix, fry") until they are piling up in the kitchen and spilling out the windows onto the streets. Only after Bashi and the rabbi climb through the windows to tell the golem to stop does the latke production end. Then everyone in the city helps celebrate Hanukkah by eating the latkes together.

My 2-year-old loved this story and asked to read it every night of Hanukkah. He'd then walk around exclaiming "Peel, chop, mix, fry!" or "Golem, enough!" In addition to an entertaining narrative, each page is fully illustrated. When we weren't reading the story my son enjoyed admiring the pictures and describing what he saw.

Altogether, we thought this book was a great addition to our Hanukkah library.
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VINE VOICEon December 7, 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As a fan of Kimmel's story variations, I was interested in how he would deal with a subject such as the golem. Thankfully, he does not disappoint. The Golem's Latkes is about Rabbi Judah who builds a golem to help with tasks, but the golem does not know when to stop until he is told. So, one day while Rabbi Judah is meeting with the King, he leaves a serving girl in charge of the golem. Soon, Judah's home is overflowing with latkes. But the people of Prague help, and soon the latkes are gone.

The illustrations, acrylic on wood panel, have a strangely muted but colorful feel that is very earthy and appropriate to the topic. The writing is basic but engaging and really helps flesh out the story. The general feel is much more whimsical than serious. Overall, this is a nicely constructed tale with a familiar feel that should be of interest to anyone who likes a good story. Kimmel provides enough background from the start, not only in the author's note but also in the beginning of the story, to ground readers and explain what unfamiliar terms are. Very well constructed.
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