Feb 4, 2017

Review: The Golem of Prague

The Golem of Prague The Golem of Prague by Irène Cohen-Janca
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review by:
Aunt Meanie

This book is a recounting of one of the most famous Jewish legends. The legend combines supernatural and mythical elements.

Prague, in 16th Century, was home to a large population of Jews. During that time Jews were feared by many and accused of many heinous crimes they didn’t commit. According to the legend, Rabbi Yehunda Loew created a Golem to protect the Jewish people of Prague from persecution. The Golem, after having accomplished its task, and having no further purpose, becomes angry and goes beserk. The Rabbi destroys the Golem, returning it to its natural state of inanimate clay. The inanimate Golem is taken to the attic of the Old New Synagogue where it supposedly remains to this day.

I don’t know if there is supposed to be a moral to this story/legend or not. If there is I couldn’t figure it out. Being a children’s story based on a Jewish/religious legend I expected it to have a moral.

It was an interesting read, if somewhat dark in nature. Age appropriate for middle school.
I enjoyed the many illustrations in the book. They felt accurate for this story in depicting 16th century Prague in relation to the darkness of the story.

I’m sure parents could have a discussion with their child to open their mind to possible morals to be conveyed to children. I can only guess.
Creation of a man with no soul, the error of placing your trust/safety in a false man, even “words can hurt” since the Golem was both created and destroyed by words. Maybe that’s just me, still looking for the moral of a children’s book.


The legend of the Golem dates back to the 1500s when the Jews of Prague were being viciously persecuted. Their spiritual leader, Rabbi Loew, also known as The Maharal of Prague, created a formidable creature out of clay whose mission it was to protect the Jews of the city. This beautiful picture book with its lyrical text and evocative illustrations, retells the story of the Golem through the eyes of a young boy, Frantz. Despite warnings to never enter the attic in the synagogue, Frantz climbs up. There, he is transported back to the time when the Golem was created, and eventually destroyed. A blend of mysticism, the supernatural, and even romance makes this a haunting picture book for children ages 8 to 12.

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