From the Publisher
Praise for Rachel Captures the Moon:
“With dense, jewel-toned watercolors and colored-pencil illustrations, and characterizations and perspectives reminiscent of Chagall and other Jewish visual folklorists, Ungar swiftly and affectionately transports readers to a mythical, long-ago world.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Ungar’s small black and white pictures give appealingly realistic vignettes of characters, while the brilliantly colored main pictures are exuberant celebrations of village life with a nod to Chagall. His text conveys the relish of the storyteller.”
— Quill & Quire
“The plot of the story celebrates common sense, but the illustrations invoke a nighttime world of imagination, and the combination works beautifully.”
The Rabbi is giving a lesson on charity. The highest level, he says, is when the recipient does not know who has given it. Then the story begins. Three schoolboys who look to be about twelve years old are determined to find out what their Rabbi does every year on the day before Rosh Hashanah. Rumor has it that he �ascends to heaven and spends the day there, pleading with the Master of the universe to forgive the sins of the people of Nemirov.� Could that be true? Impossible! Reuven, Yossel, and Menachem will discover the truth. Well, Reuven will do the actual spying, since he is smaller than the others, somewhat brighter, and more curious. Reuven stations himself inside the Rabbi�s house and spends the night there, and in the morning he sees the Rabbi, dressed like a common woodcutter, walk out of the village and deep into the forest. And then, just like a common woodcutter, the Rabbi spends the day cutting wood. When he has cut enough, he takes an armload of logs and walks even deeper into the forest to the house of Mottel the Tailor and his wife Shayna--but, Reuven realizes, Mottel passed away last year! The Rabbi knocks on the door, lets himself into the cold dark house, and starts a fire, telling Shayna that he will wait for payment until she has money. �When the Holy One provides you with money, you will pay me. And, just so that you will not miss seeing the money when it arrives, I will keep this fire lit for you.� Reuven, who heard everything, races back to Nemirov where he is met by his friends. �Is it true?� they ask. �Did the Rabbi ascend to heaven?� Reuven softly says �Even higher.� This is a wonderful retelling of a famous story, beautifully-illustrated in Chagall-typepastels. I highly recommend it. My only complaint is that some of the colors--orange and brown, especially--interfere with the readability of the text, which is white, too small and too fine. Adapted from a story by I.L. Peretz. Reviewer: Judy Silverman
School Library Journal
The boys of Nemirov are curious as to where their esteemed rabbi goes each year on the day before Rosh Hashanah. Rumor has it that he ascends to heaven to beg God to forgive the sins of the villagers, but Yossel, Menachem, and Reuven are skeptical and the bigger boys agree that Reuven should find out exactly what the rabbi is up to. He secretly follows him home, hides under his bed, and trails him the next day. Discovering that the man, disguised as a woodcutter, ventures into the forest to chop wood and deliver it to a poor widow, the boy reports back to his friends that not only does the rabbi ascend to heaven, but he ascends "even higher." Adapted from I. L. Peretz's "If Not Higher," Ungar's version is more accessible to children and holds more appeal, yet still maintains the sophisticated message that may require adult explanation and guided discussion. The richly textured illustrations, in watercolor with colored pencil, provide readers with a sense of eastern European shtetl life. Unfortunately, the small white font often blends into the paintings, making it difficult to read. Jewish libraries, and those with large folktale collections, will want to consider this new retelling of a classic tale.
Rachel KaminCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.