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Rachel Captures The Moon

Overview

The stories of the fabled village of Chelm and its inhabitants are favorites in Jewish folklore. Newcomer Richard Ungar captures the joyous spirit of these folktales in his words and pictures.

The people of Chelm were crazy about the moon and the way it bathed the village in light. Not content to wait for the moon to rise, some of the villagers decide to capture it so they could see it whenever they wish. First the carpenter tries to reach it with a ladder. The next night the ...

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Overview

The stories of the fabled village of Chelm and its inhabitants are favorites in Jewish folklore. Newcomer Richard Ungar captures the joyous spirit of these folktales in his words and pictures.

The people of Chelm were crazy about the moon and the way it bathed the village in light. Not content to wait for the moon to rise, some of the villagers decide to capture it so they could see it whenever they wish. First the carpenter tries to reach it with a ladder. The next night the cook tries to entice the moon with soup. The musician, the weaver, and the fisherman all use their arts to try to lure the moon down to the village. To everyone’s surprise, young Rachel succeeds. But how does she capture the moon?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“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 coloured main pictures are exuberant celebrations of village life with a nod to Chagall. His text conveys the relish of the storyteller.”
Quill & Quire

“Richard Ungar has written a book about Chelm that you will really enjoy...Ungar not only wrote the story, but drew the pictures, too. And they are wonderful: full of rich blues, greens, oranges, hot pinks, purples and reds. This is a very funny book, and it is well worth reading.”
Canadian Jewish News

“…[a] marvelous adaptation…it is Unger’s illustrations – watercolour and coloured pencil on paper – that make this book as lustrous and heart-warming as the fullest, brightest moon…They empower every setting and embrace the lead characters, including the moon, in all their eccentric splendour…Rachel Captures the Moon is a not-to-be-missed outstanding contribution to Jewish-content children’s literature by a Canadian author-illustrator and publisher. Rush out and buy it today.”
Ottawa Jewish Bulletin

“The plot of the story celebrates common sense, but the illustrations invoke a nighttime world of imagination, and the combination works beautifully.”
CCL

Publishers Weekly
Ungar makes an impressive debut in this reworking of a Samuel Tenenbaum story about the profoundly silly people of Chelm. Like Mole in Bringing Down the Moon (reviewed above), the inhabitants of the mythical village are so beguiled by the moon's "wondrous light" that they decide to capture it, "so we will all be able to gaze upon the moon at any time, day or night." Simon the Carpenter tries to build a ladder to it; Selma the Cook, Rafael the Musician and Sarah the Weaver try to tempt the moon down to earth with their respective talents. But only young Rachel is successful to the Chelmites' skewed way of thinking, at least when she captures the moon's reflection in a rain barrel. 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. Ages 7-10. (Nov.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
The foolish people of Chelm from Jewish folklore are at it again. Being great admirers of the moon, they decide to capture it to keep it from fading away. But whatever zany thing they try, it doesn't work, until young Rachel moves a full rain barrel out to "capture" a reflected moon "even more magnificent than the one that filled the sky...." The good citizens of the shtetl, dressed in appropriate costume, go about their work in scenes obviously influenced by Chagall paintings. The color scheme leans heavily on purples and greens;the perspective keeps the action front and center. In his watercolor and colored pencil illustrations, Ungar fills whole and double pages with color and action, with added vignette sketches. Adapted from a story by Samuel Tenenbaum. 2001, Tundra Books, $16.95. Ages 6 to 9. Reviewer:Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-In Ungar's version of a story by Samuel Tenenbaum, the uncomplicated, hardworking people of Chelm are infatuated with the moon. They like the way it changes shape throughout the month and the pictures they imagine on its surface. The only thing they don't like is the way it disappears each morning, leaving them feeling "sad." If only they could capture it; then they could enjoy it all the time. One by one the villagers take a crack at luring the moon down to Earth. Simon builds a tall ladder, Selma makes a delicious soup, Rafael plays his violin for it, and so on. Nothing works. Only little Rachel succeeds in "capturing" the moon when she catches its shimmering reflection in a rain barrel. Of course, the moon still has to disappear come morning, but no one seems to mind. On its own, the narrative is sound enough, and tailor-made for storytime. However, the quality of Ungar's mostly flat, heavy, watercolor-and-pencil illustrations varies from spread to spread. In some paintings, the villagers' features are vaguely reminiscent of Picasso's Blue Period but in others they are expressionless and indistinct. Not an essential purchase.-Catherine Threadgill, DeKalb County Public Library, Atlanta, GA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780887765056
  • Publisher: Tundra
  • Publication date: 9/28/2001
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.31 (w) x 10.27 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Ungar has completed his first book for Tundra, after studies at the Ontario College of Art, the Jerusalem School of Fine Art, and with Toronto artist Mark Thurman. Originally from Montreal and a lawyer by profession, Mr. Ungar lives with his wife and two boys in Toronto, where he is at work on his next book.
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