A dark, mystical tale raised from ancient Jewish folklore tells of a young boy and his encounter with a golem in this picture book for older readers.
A golem is a humanlike giant made of clay or mud, with powers used at the direction of its creator. In 1580 this creature was created by the venerated Rabbi Loew for the purpose of protecting the Jews of Prague from the blood libel, or accusations that they used the blood of Christian children in rituals. Now, in the winter of 1892, young Frantz is determined to search for the golem’s remains, said to be in the attic of the Old New Synagogue. Finding a huge, old, dirty coat there, he beds down in it, sinks into a deep sleep, and experiences the events of that long-ago winter. The two eras are interwoven and filled with parallels. When Frantz awakens in his own time, he is confused and shaken. His beloved, Miriam, has also had disturbing dreams, in which she interacted with the golem and saw Frantz in its eyes. The tale moves from 1892 to 1580 and back, employing beautifully crafted descriptive detail of both history and lore, always maintaining a sense of mystery and awe. Quarello’s very dark, finely drawn illustrations appear in full-page or double-page spreads and present a menacing, violent, sorrowful quality.
Strange and powerful. (glossary) (Picture book. 10-12)