By Richard Ungar
(Tundra Books, Hardcover, 9780887766169, 32pp.)
Publication Date: April 8, 2003
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Named a 2003 Notable Book for Young Readers by The Association of Jewish Libraries
Spring has come to the little town of Chelm and everyone is busy making things clean and fresh for Passover. At Rachel’s home, a special gift has arrived: Bubbie from Bialystok has sent along her recipe for Bubbie’s Own Matzo Ball Soup. Rachel’s mother is thrilled. Maybe the fragrance of the soup will lure Elijah the Prophet to their home and he will bestow good fortune on them.
The soup is indeed wonderful, and soon it draws the neighbors. But none of these everyday folk could possibly be the great prophet. Or could they? As in Rachel Captures the Moon, the solution lies in the hands of a loving child.
Richard Ungar is a lawyer by day, but by night, he is a children’s author and illustrator. While maintaining his career as a lawyer, he studied at the Ontario College of Art, the Jerusalem School of Fine Art, and with Toronto artist Mark Thurman. Rachel’s Gift is Richard’s second book.
“…the “lesson” is accompanied by lively action and smooth prose. The rich watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations in the style of folk art capture the European village setting, and the reds, yellows, and oranges add to the warmth of the tale…. A welcome addition to Jewish folklore shelves.”
–School Library Journal
“Ungar’s brightly colored paintings are an old world aura appropriate to the folkloric setting of the story. Smaller pencil drawings are interspersed throughout the text as well and mesh nicely with the full-color spreads. A natural choice for religious school collections, this will also be welcomed in larger public libraries where demand is high.”
“Intensely colored illustrations explode with fuchsia, orange, green, and blue.”
–The Horn Book Guide
“With watercolored pencil on paper, Ungar creates Chagall-like illustrations that virtually vibrate with color. He uses them to great effect, drawing us into a magical place at a magical time, and then weaving his magical tale…. This is a wonderful book to bring to your Seder table this year…to give as a gift…or just to keep on your own bookshelf for the delight of a well-told tale.”
–JBooks.com, The Online Jewish Book Community
“Ungar’s vibrant watercolour and coloured pencil illustrations are rich with purples and blues. The slanting lines and swirling colours enliven this tale.”
“Ungar’s lustrous Chagall style folk illustrations, with dense, vibrant splashes of colour, also make a world of difference as they welcome readers to dwell in once upon a time. Rachel’s Gift is a wonderful book for Pesach and always. Don’t miss it!”
–Ottawa Jewish Bulletin
“…the wholesome message [this story] conveys is wrapped in an engrossing plot and told in a…folkloric style. Ungar’s vividly colored and lively illustrations add charm.”
–Jewish Book World
“…[a] wholesome tale [that] promotes caring and sharing with light-hearted humour and a rich, intense palette of bright, warm colours… [A]dults and younger kids alike will enjoy looking at Ungar’s whimsical, lively watercolour and coloured pencil illustrations.”
–The Toronto Sun
“There are so many pinks, oranges and greens swirling across each page, that every illustration is an energetic color ‘dance’…The story is as warm as the pink-red and orange tones which light each page.”
–St. Catharines Standard
“…Richard Ungar has written another timeless and delightful tale…”
–Children’s Book News
“The first thing you notice about Ungar’s Rachel’s Gift is the vibrant watercolour and coloured pencil illustrations in hues of red, orange, and fuchsia.”
–The New Brunswick Reader