In Prague a long time ago, there lived an emperor who believed in magic, and a rabbi who, it is said, could perform miracles. The emperor presented the rabbi with an antique spoon, but neither of them could foretell how the rabbi would one day use it. Full-color.
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Grade 3 Up?There have been many stories written about the golem?a creature formed from mud or clay in the likeness of man and brought to life by the name of God for the purpose of protecting the Jewish people from an enemy that would destroy them. In most of the tales, the golem, after fulfilling its purpose, goes wild, growing to an enormous size, and must be returned to the lump of clay from which it was made. Although Podwal's version has a historical setting, the inclusion of details culled from a number of golem stories and cabalistic writings is confusing and results in the lack of a strong plot. The stylized paintings are expertly rendered in gouache, colored pencil, and ink. They are garishly colored and feature a dream world of distorted, abstract buildings in which the rabbi and the emperor of the kingdom seem to be the only "real" entities?perhaps indicating the ethereal nature of the tale. This is borne out in a final picture of the city showing a golem-shaped mountain, upon which the buildings have been reconstructed. Beverly McDermott's The Golem (HarperCollins, 1975; o.p.) tells the traditional story of the golem of Prague, resurrected by a wise and pious rabbi when the old rumors of the Jews using the blood of Christian children to bake their Passover matzoh filled him with fear for his people. She crafted her tale in the words of a storyteller and paired it with the powerful, vivid paintings of a master artist. Although neither book is meant for young children, McDermott's is more accessible.?Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Rooted in Jewish folklore and set in Prague, this retelling of a 16th-century legend about a ruler obsessed with alchemy and a rabbi who works magic says much about Podwal's (The Book of Tens) ability to work creatively and respectfully within the folktale tradition. When the Jews of Prague face unbearable persecution, a rabbi reluctantly fashions a Golem, a giant made from mud; the rabbi knows of the Golem's potential for vast destruction, but the Jews need a protector. Both thought-provoking and mystical, this adaptation refuses to shy away from the story's darker aspects. The King's greed-driven madness and his exchanges with the rabbi, the afflictions of the Jews living in the ghetto, the desperate creation of the Golem and the ensuing violence are presented without apology. Rather, Podwal couches his narrative in tightly concentrated imagery. Trees are torn from their roots and tossed to the moon, an evil astrologer wears a silver nose, and the golem wears the "emperor's palace on top of its head like a crown." Although dull brown tones dominate the jacket, the interior art is bright and jewel-toned-in many places the artwork possesses an almost Gauguin-like sunniness, a skillful counterpoint to the shadowy, mythic power of the text. Ages 5-up.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Summit Books, 1983. Hardcover. Book Condition: Near Fine. Slipcase: Fine. First Edition. Limited to 250 copies, of which this is #110 SIGNED on the limitation page by both Elie Weisel and Mark Podwal. The volume has a bookplate on the verso of the front endpaper, all else is fine. Signed. Bookseller Inventory # 14080226
Book Description Simon & Schuster, New York, 1983. Cloth. Book Condition: Fine. Mark Podwal (illustrator). Limited/Numbered. Anne Borchardt (transl). grey board box, lavender cloth, gilt imprint design, all exc unread, as new cond; illus purple eps, full pg b/w illus, 109 pp. signed by both Wiesel and Podwal on limitation pg, #36/250 copies. Size: 6.5"-9.5". Signed by Author and Illustrator. Limited Signed. Bookseller Inventory # RB3482
Book Description Summit Books, New York, 1983. Cloth. Book Condition: Fine. Podwal, Mark (illustrator). Limited Numbered First Edition. A beautiful copy of this Limited Numbered First Edition signed by the author and the illustrator on the limitation page and numbered 217 of 250 speciallly signed and bound copies. More importantly, the book is also inscribed and signed by the author (and his wife) on the limitation page to friend Rosamund Bernier, editor of L'Oel, and her husband the art critic John Russell, dated 1986, "For Rosamund Bernier and John Russell - who loved Prague and its mysteries -- with every good wish, Marion & Eli Wiesel, 4-23-86." In bright purple cloth with gold titling, the book is in fine condition. Enclosed in a light brown paper board slipcase also in fine condition. A beautiful set. Bookseller Inventory # 3994