The renowned Rabbi Judah Loew of Prague and his mythical golem appear in this Hanukkah fairy tale inspired by The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and reminiscent of Tomie dePaola’s Strega Nona.
Rabbi Judah has much to do but little time. When he must visit the emperor, he allows his new housemaid, Basha, the assistance of the golem to clean the house and make latkes for the first night of the Rabbi’s Hanukkah party. Basha must direct the golem to stop his task by saying, “Golem, enough.” Basha, however, is so impressed by the golem’s effortless, incessant work she decides to visit a friend while the golem continues to “PEEL. CHOP. MIX. FRY.” Hours later, a mountain of golden, crispy latkes overtakes the city walls, proving that the golem indeed does “have clay for brains … [and] doesn’t know when to quit.” As all Prague residents happily partake in the Hanukkah delicacy, Basha wonders if a mountain of golem-baked hamantaschen can be possible for Purim…. Rich, earthy-toned acrylic paints on wood panels bring this predictable yet amusing Old World yarn to life with detailed brush strokes to invoke the mottling of the hand-molded clay giant or the silky fur of the Rabbi’s wide shtreimel hat. The golem, which could be frightening, here is painted with a beatific smile and, despite his size, looks about as threatening as Gumby.
Kimmel’s storytelling is effective in its use of suspense, humor, trope and repetition, making a fine read-aloud holiday treat. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)