13 June 2007
Author/Illustrator: David Wisniewski
This is the ancient story of the Rabbi Loew who builds the Golem out of the earth to protect the Jewish people against persecution. A beautiful interpretation, almost as impressive as the rabbi's magic is Wisniewski's supernatural ability to bring the story to life through his illustration. His masterful paper-cutting technique has a mystical quality to it and truly takes on a life of its own. On one particular page, the lightning appears to actually sizzle on the page. Seriously, it's no wonder he won the Caldecott.
Note: The Golem is the Jewish incarnation of a mythical construct that appears frequently in religious and folk traditions all over the world. The figure of the Golem even finds room for itself in modern pop-culture mythology. Some notable examples:
Frankenstein's Monster: Built out of spare body parts by Dr. Frankenstein. A transplant mishap leads to disaster.
Andre the Giant: Built by director Rob Reiner entirely out of twinkies and body hair to play the loveable Fezzick in The Princess Bride.
Pamela Anderson: Constructed out of Maybelline and silicone to fulfill the fantasies of trashy rockstars (and teenage boys) the world over.