Even Higher! A Rosh Hashanah Story by I.L. Peretz

Eric A. Kimmel, Author, Jill Weber, Illustrator , illus. by Jill Weber. Holiday House $16.95 (24p) ISBN 978-0-8234-2020-9

Each year, before the High Holy Days, the saintly rabbi in the Ukrainian town of Nemirov disappears. His congregation is convinced that he literally ascends to heaven to plead their case before God. But a skeptic discovers the truth, and it has nothing to do with miracles, and everything to do with being a mensch. Drawn from Peretz's opus, this tale will probably be an old acquaintance to frequenters of youth Shabbat services. But Kimmel (The Mysterious Guests: A Sukkot Story ) and Weber (Maple Syrup Season ) make it fresh again. Kimmel's wise, reassuring voice embellishes the story with wonderful details (to ready for his journey, the rabbi dresses in “a linen blouse and trousers, tall boots, a wide leather belt, a long woolen coat, and a greasy sheepskin cap”), while keeping the narrative taut. And as usual, Kimmel brings out the best in his collaborators: without veering into false sentimentality or Fiddler on the Roof stereotypes, Weber's colorful, openhearted drawings immerse readers in a lost world where piety defined life and the quest for truth was the biggest adventure of all. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/24/2009
Release date: 09/01/2009
Genre: Children's
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