Golem (Caldecott Medal Book) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-04-18 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 42 user ratings

" I read this as a young girl and it made a very deep impression. A masterfully told and ultimately bittersweet story about ethics and what it means to be human. " said.

"The plot in the story “Golem” by David Wisniewski is about a man who was shaped out of clay by a Rabbi and then the Rabbi brought him to life. The Golem was to vanquish those who persecuted the Jews of Prague and then was later turn back into clay at the end of the story. I particularly don’t know how to rate this book because I loved the artwork, but disliked the storyline. The illustrations in this book were very dark and mysterious which went along with the plot perfectly. Also, the picture colors changed to a dramatic fire orange and red as the Golem wounded those who persecuted the Jews. All in all the illustrations were stunning to me as a reader! However in my opinion the storyline was directed towards an adult audience and was pretty scary. I feel like Golem would not be appropriate for younger readers." said.

" Beautiful cut-paper illustrations, a solid and concise story (probably best for 5-8 year-old children), and a nice 11-paragraph note at the end about the Golem legend within the context of Kabbalah and in connection with Rabbit Loew ben Bezalel. Best line was the Rabbi's: "Would a people who celebrate the end of their own slavery wish to inflict slavery on others?" If you're not Jewish or interested in the legend of the Golem, at least check this one out for the incredible papercutting! " said.

"While I can appreciate the historical and religious background of the story, the lessons it teaches and the illustrations, I can't say I enjoy this book. Wisniewski is, undoubtedly, a talented artist. I am left feeling disconcerted and troubled after reading the's deeply troubling that Jews have been so mistreated and misunderstood in so many places throughout history. So it's understandable that they would feel the need to protect themselves, hence the creation of the golem by Rabbi Loew. Wisniewski purposefully uses dark colors, blacks and browns and reds, to create tension and show the despair of the people. It makes the book seem dark, gloomy and without hope...which is appropriate based on many of the events...but (go ahead and call me a Pollyanna), I like to see the hope shining through the darkness and to me that is what is missing in this story. It is dark pretty much throughout (both the tone and the illustrations) with little hint of light or improvement or better days to come. I can see the reasoning behind it but it still limits my enjoyment although not my appreciation." said.

" The artwork is beautiful, the story a bit too profound for a picture book. Still, a must read for anyone who is interested in the history of Jews in Europe. 1997 Caldecott Medal Winner " said.

" Unique illustrations and story. I was kind of sad the ending ended how it did. Perhaps a Golem Returns sequel (hint hint Wisniewski) can redeem it. My husband read this book to me with a Rabi voice so that might have made me love it more. " said.

" The illustrations in this book are INSANE. Honestly, maybe the most impressive pictures I've ever seen in a children's book. The story is very interesting, and there is an excellent source note in the back of the book. But the pictures will leave you in awe. " said.

" I rarely give a book 5 stars, but this one deserves it. The unique story, fully-formed characters and the twists and turns of the plot make for an incredible book. I love a book that makes you think about your own life while immersed in the characters' lives. I highly recommend this one. " said.

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