Wisniewski, D. (1996). Golem. New York: Clarion Books. ISBN: 9780395726181
Annotation: In 16th Century Prague, the Jews are being persecuted by the non-Jews, who are spreading malicious lies about Jewish traditions. To protect his people, the chief rabbi breathes life into a clay giant.
Reaction: The paper cuts are amazing. I love all the details and intricacies Wisniewski is able to incorporate into his illustrations. As I examined the minute details of the pictures, I couldn’t help but wonder how long it took him to complete his paper cuts for this book, and I would love to know much was done by hand or with something like a die cut machine and how large the original illustrations were (surely big, right? they’re so delicate).
I also really like the emotional complexity he gave to Golem, and how human he was by the end of the story. I wish he could have been allowed to savor life longer. Golem, named Joseph by his creator, should be a reminder to appreciate the small beauties of life, the way he savors the new experiences of being alive, like “the scent of a rose or the flight of a pigeon.”
This book uses sophisticated language in the text through the religious terminology and through the complex ideas presented about humanity in the text and illustrations.
This book won the 1997 Caldecott Medal.
This book is on the 2011 Students’ List for “Books receiving votes for Top Ten Favorites from students in Summer 2011.”
Media Used: Cut paper.
Author’s Website: None