cover image Too Many Golems

Too Many Golems

Jane Yolen, illus. by Maya Shleifer. Chronicle, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-79721-214-2

Golems come to the rescue of a boy struggling to learn Hebrew in this spin on the folkloric. Blonde-haired Abi, a rabbi’s son, is often accidentally in trouble—for forgetting to pay for a bagel (“He was reading a comic book”), for saying a bad word (“He didn’t know it was a bad word”). And when he takes an ancient scroll from the synagogue basement in order to practice his Hebrew pronunciation, he inadvertently summons 10 golems to the family’s front door. While the beings are ready to use physical force to help Abi, the protagonist persuades them to serve as tutors instead: “They never threatened him—but oh, did they yell and shake their fists at the grammar.” Shleifer’s pencil and wax crayon illustrations emphasize Abi’s youthful logic and the golems’ earnest efforts, culminating in a final scene of the golems cutting it up on the dance floor at Abi’s bar mitzvah. An end note, “Rabbi Loew and His Golem,” contextualizes the story. Ages 5–8. (Apr.)