Even High­er

Richard Ungar
  • Review
By – December 16, 2011
The clas­sic folk­tale, about the rab­bi of Nemirov who dis­ap­pears every year before Rosh Hashanah with­out any of his con­gre­gants or the vil­lagers know­ing where he has gone, has been beau­ti­ful­ly adapt­ed from the I.L. Peretz sto­ry. When the rab­bi is nowhere to be found, the peo­ple of the vil­lage assume that he goes up to heav­en to beg for­give­ness before the New Year. Reuven and his young friends, how­ev­er, want to know the real truth. Reuven is del­e­gat­ed to fol­low the rab­bi and ascer­tain the truth of the rabbi’s des­ti­na­tion. He suc­ceeds in doing so, fol­low­ing the rab­bi into the for­est and into the home of a poor tailor’s wid­ow, where he spies the holy man per­form­ing a great mitz­vah by bring­ing her wood and light­ing a fire in her home. Dra­mat­ic full page illus­tra­tions are done in a rich­ly col­ored folk-art style, using col­ored pen­cil and water col­or. The author has writ­ten and illus­trat­ed the well-received Rachel Cap­tures the Moon and Rachel’s Gift. His lat­est work is anoth­er suc­cess. In com­par­i­son with Bar­bara Cohen’s 1987 excel­lent retelling of the same tale, Ungar intro­duces a touch of humor and, in addi­tion, uses chil­dren as his pro­tag­o­nists, mak­ing this ver­sion extreme­ly child-cen­tered, in an ageap­pro­pri­ate way. This book will be pop­u­lar at High Hol­i­day time. For ages 5 – 8.

Read­ing Guide

Shelly Feit has an M.L.S. and a Sixth-year Spe­cial­ist’s Cer­tifi­cate in infor­ma­tion sci­ence. She is the library direc­tor and media spe­cial­ist at the Mori­ah School in Engle­wood, NJ.

Discussion Questions