Sunday, November 22, 2009

Clay Man: The Golem of Prague

I recently had the pleasure of reading an inspired new book by my friend and fellow author, Irene Watts. Clay Man: The Golem of Prague tells the story of how, in 1595, a protector of the Jewish ghetto in Prague came into being. Clay Man, the protector, was molded from the clay of a riverbank by a rabbi and infused with life by the rabbi's words. Clay Man's job is to keep the people of Jewish town safe from fierce anti-Semitic attacks.

The story is a retelling of a famous Jewish folktale and is told through the eyes of young Jacob (the rabbi's son), who longs to explore the big city beyond the ghetto's gates, and secretly witnesses the formation of Clay Man late one night.

It is a beautifully written story that moves quickly and dramatically. The book is illustrated by another friend, Kathryn Shoemaker, and the combination of her evocative art with Irene's words is a winning one.

It opens with a poem:

I am of clay
Old as earth
I lie here
River washes over me
Water cools me, Sun warms me
I know light and dark
Light is bright and dark is black
I lie and wait

For a riveting read, full of Jewish history and lore, pick up this book. I highly recommend it!

Published by Tundra Books, for ages 8-12 years old and up.

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