Like Richard Ungar's 2007 picture book with the same title, this retelling of Peretz's beautiful Jewish folktale is about a rabbi whom the shtetl people believe performs a miracle every year before Rosh Hashanah. Kimmel tells it from the viewpoint of a sceptical Litvak stranger, who does not believe in miracles. He follows the rabbi, who disguises himself as a peasant, cuts wood, and brings his bundle to a poor old woman in a wretched shack, then sings and dances with her before the fire she builds. The bright mixed-media pictures in folk-art style show the rabbi's hard work and joyful movements, a powerful, earthy contrast to the magic realism that the shtetl people imagine. Steeped in Yiddish idiom, the story sends an unforgettable message: the sceptic changes and sees that ordinary kindness is enough to save the world. In the end, when the local people proclaim that the holy man flew up to heaven, the Litvak stranger nods and adds in a quiet voice: "Who knows. / Maybe even higher!" Preschool-Grade 3. --Hazel Rochman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Steeped in Yiddish idiom, the story sends an unforgettable message: the skeptic changes and sees that ordinary kindness is enough to save the world."