Reviews for Golem's Latkes

Booklist Reviews 2011 November #2
Not as scary as traditional golem monster stories, this lively picture book blends the Jewish legend with the story of the Sorcerer's Apprentice. Rabbi Judah models a great clay giant that can do whatever anyone asks. There is only one problem: the golem does not know when to stop. With the first night of Hanukkah arriving, the busy rabbi instructs his housemaid to use the golem to make lots of latkes but never leave him unattended. Of course she does, and in return the golem does not stop: Peel. Chop. Mix. Fry. Peel. . . The mayhem is great messy fun for storytelling, with bright acrylic double-page spreads that show the huge giant with his latkes filling the kitchen, tumbling into the street, and then forming a golden brown mountain above the city--until the rabbi rushes home to say Golem, enough! And there is enough for the whole of Prague to join the delicious feast. More appetizing than frightening, no? Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
Rabbi Judah needs help preparing for Hanukkah, so he allows his housemaid to enlist the aid of the Golem. She doesn't follow the Rabbi's warnings, though, and the Golem gets out of control while making latkes. Kimmel's entertaining retelling was inspired by versions of the Golem legend and The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Jasinski's acrylic illustrations show a creature that's both friendly and a little creepy.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 September #1

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)

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 September #3

The legendary golem--a lump of clay brought to life by Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel of Prague--again comes to life in this adaptation by Kimmel (Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins), who infuses it with a good touch of The Sorcerer's Apprentice. One day when Rabbi Judah needs to meet with the emperor, he leaves his servant girl Basha to prepare the house for Hanukkah, with the assistance of the golem. The result is a town full of latkes, which can fuel a big Hanukkah party. Kimmel has the pacing of a comic, and the illustrations by Jasinski (The Heart's Language) are richly detailed. A selection of the PJ Library. Ages 5-8. (Oct.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 October

Gr 1-3--Spinning the Jewish legend of the golem into a tale inspired by "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," this book disappoints on several levels. When Rabbi Judah of Prague must meet with the Emperor right before the first night of Hanukkah, he tells his housemaid that she can have the golem's help making latkes for the evening's festivities but warns her not to leave it home alone. Predictably, the Basha goes to visit a friend, leaving the golem to make latkes until they spill out the door and fill the streets of the city. However, one must wonder how batches and batches of latkes are made from a single basket of potatoes. This conundrum is exacerbated by the general flatness of the narrative, in spite of a text perked up by the refrain "Peel. Chop. Mix. Fry. Peel. Chop. Mix. Fry." Richly hued acrylic-on-wood illustrations nicely depict golden latkes piled high, but are marred by the portrayal of the golem as a large gray Gumby-like figure with the letters EMET (Hebrew for "truth") etched on its forehead. By focusing solely on the golem as automaton, young readers unfamiliar with this character's rich and complex history in Jewish mysticism and literature are being shortchanged.--Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library

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