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American Golem: The New World Adventures of an Old World Mud Monster

illus. by Marc Lumer. 40p. Behrman House. Oct. 2018. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781681155357.
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K-Gr 3—A young boy arrives in America and is intimidated by the big, crowded, scary city. When the kids next door run after him yelling, he immediately assumes that they are just like the bullies he left behind in the old country. Inspired by the Jewish legend of the Golem, he creates his own giant out of mud for protection. However, the boy soon discovers that his neighbors harbor no ill will and only wanted him to join their stick ball game. But if no one needs protection, what should his Golem do instead? Expressive, detailed pencil and watercolor illustrations in nostalgic sepia tones, that also incorporate historical photographs of New York City, help tell the story and perfectly complement this funny and unique twist on the Golem legend. Glossing over the original reasons the Jews needed to rely on a Golem, Lumer shifts the focus to friendship, fitting in, welcoming newcomers, and assuming the best in people. Pair with The Golem's Latkes by Eric Kimmel for readers looking for a lighter take on the legend and for those who aren't quite ready for David Wisniewski's Caldecott-winning title.
VERDICT A solid addition for most libraries.

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